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Concerned about treament options: persistant radiculopathy but with contralateral MRI results

Started by SongJin on 12/09/2015 7:02am

I've had neck and shoulder pain issues for several years following a roll-over car accident. I did physical therapy at that time, but it never really resolved the issues I was having with pain and muscle spasms.

Last May, I started having worse muscle spasms, followed by an increase in burning pain along my shoulder blade. Then I started experiencing numbness/pins and needles in my right thumb, index finger, and part of my middle finger, along with this really awful deep aching pain in my forearm. I went to an orthopedic doctor, and they had me do physical therapy for several months without any real improvement. Eventually they authorized an MRI, but the orthopedic doctor wasn't sure what to make of the results because some of the findings were on the left, and all of my symptoms are on the right side. He's referring me to a neurosurgeon, but the earliest appointment I could get is three months from now.

Because of the unusual results, I'm a little worried that I'll wait for three months, only to find out that they won't do anything anyway, so I thought I might post my MRI results and see if anyone here had similar or related findings:

C4-5: Mild posterior osseous ridging which is eccentric to the left. Mild left-sided canal narrowing. No cord compression. Neural foramina patent.
C5-6: Disc-osteophyte complex with element of left paracentral disc protrusion. Moderate canal stenosis. Mild left ventral cord contouring without cord compression or cord edema. No significant foraminal stenosis.
C6-7: Shallow central disc protrusion without significant canal stenosis or cord compression. Neural foramina patent.

I'm a 32-year-old female.

A few of the things I'm wondering:
Is there a chance this could require surgery now or in the future?
What other options might potentially be offered?
The numbness/referred pain seems likely related to a spine problem, but what about the shoulder blade? Does anyone else have burning pain along their shoulder blade from cervical disc/nerve pathologies?

I'm not looking for diagnoses obviously, just hoping for some related experiences while I wait for referrals. It's been almost nine months of this and I'm hoping there's some other option besides endless PT and ibuprofen that do little for the constant pain. Thank you!

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2 Responses


Sorry you are having such a horrible time. I had surgery on my neck earlier this yr. Wonderful surgeon. Started with an ortho guy and pretty much had same result. Took a couple months , but got in with current surgeon who recommended surgery. Had 3 discs removed,fusion and its almost like it never happened. I would keep the appoinment and see what he/she recommends Pain and numbness etc..really should be checked out by a good spinal Dr and probably neurologist. Ice helps me. Good luck. Hope you feel better real soon


Thanks for your response! I totally missed this--guess I'm not automatically subscribed to my own posts?

I did end up getting in with a neurosurgeon, and they want to do either a fusion or a disc replacement at one of the levels. I'm just glad that it's being taken seriously--took me so long to just to get the original ortho guy to take an MRI. After nearly a year of pain, it's great to make some kind of progress.