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Can you help me interpret my MRI?

Started by Mamarazzi1981 on 11/01/2018 2:18pm

Hello! I am a 37 year old mom of 3. I have had horrible neck pain for years, but it has become debilitating lately. I had posted here 5 years ago when I had my last MRI and I never got a response, but I had found out it was arthritic changes and my doc said “reverse lordosis” from muscle spasms. I’m no doctor, but it seems my MRI is much worse looking this time around:( here it is:

Findings: There is slight reversal of the upper cervical lordosis without subluxation. No compression deformity, fracture, or bone marrow edema. There is mild disc desiccation at all levels without significant disc space narrowing. Craniocervical junction appears normal. No expansile cervical cord lesion or abnormal signal. Paraspinal musculature is unremarkable.

C2-3 level appears normal.

At C3-4 there is a small focal central to left paracentral disc protrusion measuring 3-4 mm transverse diameter causing anterior cord effacement. Uncinate and and facet hypertrophy seen with mild to moderate left and mild right foraminal stenosis.

At C4-5 there is a broad central disc protrusion noted with anterior cord effacement. Uncinate and facet hypertrophy seen with moderate left greater than right foraminal stenosis. Some ligamentum flavin thickening is seen.

At C5-6 there is a posterior disc bulge without cord effacement. Uncinate and facet hypertrophy seen with mild bilateral foraminal stenosis.

At C6-7 no disc herniation seen. Some mild facet hypertrophy noted with minimal foraminal stenosis.

C7-T1 appears normal.

1. Multilevel disc disease with uncinate and facet arthritic changes as discussed, most significant C3-4 C4-5 where central disc protrusions are causing anterior cord effacement.

Thanks so much if you are able to help me understand this report:)

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6 Responses


My MRI read somewhat similar it looks like you have bulging or herniated discs at C4 C5 and C5 C6 one of them is affecting your spinal cord and pushing into it. Seem like your left side of body may be affected more than your right? You most likely have degenerative disc disease with bulging/ ruptured discs at at least three levels of vertebrae I think. I'm not a doctor but my report read somewhat similar. I had discectomy surgery October 2014 to replace 2 discs at c5 and c6 they went in through the front and i had really good results however I am now having issues with the discs below causing me quite a bit of pain and discomfort i may require another surgery. Every doctor handles these differently try and find a good neurosurgeon to read it as well as a good doctor to refer you if its surgery you think you need.

hope that helps you out a little bit.


Dealing with doctors is not fun, i went through years of agonizing neck arm and back pain. headaches so bad i would be throwing up, they constantly told m e there was nothing wrong with me, my right arm was practically paralyzed at all times and it was so weak I couldn't even hold a coffee cup, i went to work every day cause they said I was "drug seeking" i finally had a doctor in emergency order an MRI even though i had asked hundreds of times for one, as soon as my MRI came back i had surgery three months later, the doctor that ordered it actually said "holy shit" when he read it, they all thought i was just some crazy lady looking for drugs, I told a few off after I had surgery, still bothers me though.


Jackie-I don’t know how to reply directly to a person. But thanks for your response! Wow that stinks you need another surgery:( do you think my doctor will suggest surgery? I hope they wouldn’t suggest it bc I’m going to tell them no. My symptoms are bad, but if they tell me I’ll be paralyzed soon if I don’t, then I’d do it, otherwise I wouldn’t even consider it. Scary to think of spine surgery. I have weakness in my arms and hands. Pain in both shoulders. Both of my hands are numb and it’s hard for me to open jars, twist off sodas, etc. I feel like a 37 year old in the body of a 70 year old:(


There's a good chance they will suggest it, it is scary for sure but I had excellent surgeons, and really good results. I unfortunately damaged my back really bad from a few bad accidents and it was left for so long that surgery become the only option. I had really similar pain and symptoms to you and I will be honest the pain was too much for me i was at my witts end and had no quality of life. i am definitely not at that point now since having surgery. They did a new type of surgery on me called Fidji Cage Surgery they went in through the front of my neck at c5 c6 and sucked out the damaged disc with a vacuum and replaced them with man made discs and a piece of metal cage ant tiny screws to hold it all in place. I felt instant relief after surgery because it took all the pressure off my spinal cord and released the trapped nerves. It was terrifying though but my arm was paralyzed and I had 0 quality of life. It will have to be something you discuss with your doctor and family and make the decision. With me they had no other options hey tried physio, and accupunture, even the pain medications they were giving me did nothing before surgery.

I am not sure if yo live in the US or Canada and i live in Canada and on the West coast near Vancouver where we have excellent surgeons and doctors for this type of thing, but I have heard of things going wrong for people as well. Do as much research as you can and make an informed decision.

Best of luck, hope that helps you somewhat, its a tough thing to deal with it affects our lives so much, i know what you are going through.


Thank you so much!! That sounds just awful what you’ve gone through:( I’m glad you have a much better quality of life now and I hope the remaining issues get ironed out.

I live in the U.S. in the Midwest. Just moved here 2 months ago from the east coast. So I’m still learning the area. I’ve just been seeing my family doctor so far and been taking probably too many ibuprofen, probably destroying the lining of my stomach.


Wanted to see if there was anyone else that can take a look at my MRI:)