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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

Hello. This is my first post. I have recently received an MRI and the results have left me a little scared. I was wondering if anyone could help to explain the results and if this means I should have to have surgery or not.

A little history... I am a 48 year old, overweight, female. I am in a corporate position and work full time. I was in a car accident in 1987 that left me with a bad case of whiplash. Years later I began have neck tightness and soreness, pain in my neck that would often be described as a "crick" in my neck where I coukldn't turn my neck. Over the years I became accustomed and eventually the pain would go away unless I did something to cause a strain. Recently (april 3, 2013) I slipped on the bathroom floor at work and had a significant fall. I fell to the left and hurt my left side of my neck, left shoulder, left hip and left knee. The shoulder was causing me the most discomfort. The doctor sent me to PT for the neck, shoulder and back (turns out what i thought was hip was actually low back just to the left of my spine).

The therapy seemed to help the shoulder. Low back still bothers me but is tolerable. The neck however doesn't seem to be healing. Since the fall I have 3 - 5 severe headaches a week. I also am experiencing significant numbing, needles all the way from both shoulders to my tips of my fingers at night while sleeping. I am woke up nightly and sometimes have to get out of bed to make it stop. I am also experiencing a charly horse type feeling in my left hand and it appears to cramp into a claw like shape where the thumb comes inward toward the palm.

I had an MRI and was given the results yesterday. I am now being referred to a neck specialist. My MRI states the following:

C2 - C4 is Mild disc height loss. Small disc osteophyte complex causes slight canal and mild neural foraminal narrowing.

C4 - C5: Severe disc height loss. Disc osteophyte complex and mild facet degenerative changes efface the anterior and posterior subarachnoid spaces. Canal is narrowed to 8 mm AP in midline. Moderate left and mild right neural foraminal narrowing.

C5-C6: Severe disc height loss. Disc osteophyte complex has a focal more prominent area just right of the midline that indents the cord causing the greatest canal stenosis. Focal area appears to be a combination of disc and osteophyte. Canal is narrowed to 6 mm. Moderate left and mild right neural foraminal narrowing.

C6-C7: Moderate disc height loss. Disc Osteophyte complex assymetric left causes mild canal as well as moderate left and mild right neural foraminal narrowing.

C7 - T1: Disc desiccation and slight disc space narrowing. No stenosis. Moderate left and mild right facet degenerative changes.

Sorry for the lengthy post. As you can imagine, the C4-C7 areas concern me the most. I hope somebody here can help me understand these terms in "everyday speak" versus "doctor speak". The ortho that I went to said he thought the neck guy would want to try injections first before a surgical intervention. Then he took me to the hall to show me my films and pointed to the narrowest part and said that the neck guy may actually want to go straight to surgery. Thoughts anyone??

Signed, Terrified in Atlanta

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