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432750 tn?1283725806

cervical spinal MRI

I just had an mri done and I am needing help in understanding it.
I have a lot of pins and needles in my left arm and it is getting worse.
Any help is appreciated.
Thank you. :)


C4-C5 – There is bulging of the disc. There is also facet hypertrophy on the left.  Left foraminal stenosis is seen and likely encroaches on the left C5 nerve root.

C5-C6 – There is bulging of the disc. Effacement of the thecal sac anterio to the cord is seen.   No Frank neural impingement is seen.

C6-C7 – There is a left paracentral disc herniation with anterior impingement on the thecal sac. No Frank cord impingement is seen.

No Intrinsic neural abnormalities are identified.  

Impression:   Multilevel cervical spondylosis.  There is left foraminal stenosis at C4-C5 which likely encroaches on the left C5 nerve root.

7 Responses
Avatar universal
Spondylosis is just a general term referring to degenerative osteoarthritis of the joints or the spine.

A lot of people have disc bulges, its a normal part of aging and in a lot of cases they don't cause any problems. So the one you have at C5-6 isn't causing any problems and neither is the effacement of the thecal sac. Effacement in this case means rubbing out or pushing on and thecal sac is the outer covering of the spinal canal. So the disc is pushing on the thecal sac a little, this doesn't generally cause any symptoms. Your spinal cord is fine at this level.

You have another bulge at C6-7 actually its a herniation there's kind of a blurry line between a herniation and a bulge, but the report doesn't say whether or not it has ruptured, I'm thinking it hasn't, I don't know. Regardless, all it's doing is pushing on the thecal sac which is really no big deal. Your spinal cord is okay at this level too.

C4-5 this is where your problem is. Like the other levels you have a disc bulge, however this one is causing foraminal stenosis. What that means is that the bulge is going into the neural foramen, those are small holes or canals that the nerve roots travel through from the spinal canal. Stenosis means narrowing, if the disc bulge is big enough, it can go into this area and pinch the nerves. Your report says that its likely that your C5 nerve root on the left side is being affected. That correlates with the pins and needles in your left arm, is this upper arm? Do you have any neck pain, how's your shoulder?

The good news is that if that's the only symptom you have, this thing isn't that bad yet. You could probably work in out in Physical Therapy, how long have you been dealing with this?
432750 tn?1283725806
Hi Kalvin,
Thank you so much for your reply.

OK, here's what is happening physically to my left arm. In the upper part (deltoid) it feels slightly weak when I raise it.
When I am driving and reach across to the glove compartment my left forearm and the bend area immediately get strong pins and needles. Strong enough that I have to stop and rub it. I'm sure rubbing it really isn't helping... duh... It's probably coming from the neck. Yes?  
OK. The next thing that happens is when I am bent over my sink and washing my face the pins and needles come on again but not as strong,

Before I got to the pins and needles stuff about a month before I would have to "push" my head back up manually,  if I lowered it to look at something, etc,, because my neck didn't feel strong enough to do this on it's own.  Weird, I know....

The tingling pins stuff also will occasionally travel down to my thumb.
I think it all depends on my position.  Definitely holding a phone to my should is a huge no, no.
I feel tingling constantly when I sit and get on my laptop. I am thinking maybe that the position of my neck is not good? I am using a lap top portable table that is on my lap.

I hit my head rather hard in February of this year, but didn't feel any immediate problems.  About 2 months ago I slept on a cervical pillow that has a hole in the middle and then I woke up with a burning pain in my shoulder and scapula.  
Also, my cervical has had bulges before due to turbulence accidents or whiplash in the air, but they have resolved or not bothered me in the past.

I'm also a flight attendant and the last trip I worked two weeks ago, I had lifted a lot of soda bins and loaded them into our beverage cart. They weigh about 45 pounds. I felt some burning in the back and my neck was in pain the next day.

I went to get a cervical injection and the doctor that gave me a shot just had me lay down on a table and he put a shot in my neck. I was in horrible pain after that.
I asked if I might need another shot to feel relief but he did not want to touch me after he gave me the first one. He said it was too risky.  

Your reply has given me a lot of hope and I feel relieved to hear that it might not be as bad as I thought.

What would you do if you were me?
Avatar universal
Yes, it obviously has to do with the positioning of your neck, you didn't say how long you've been dealing with this. Are you still able to work? I have a problem at C4-5 too, so I can relate to everything you're going through and then some. I haven't had the injections, my primary's dead set against them.

I had no idea working as a flight attendant could be so dangerous. What are your Doctors telling you, what are they recommending?  Physical Therapy can help a lot, things like muscle stretching and strengthening can be very beneficial.
432750 tn?1283725806
I haven't really had to fly too much. I have been able to arrange my schedule for the past
6 months. I fly one trip 2 weeks ago and re-injured it.  

All in all I have been dealing with this for about 6 months. The discs have been bulged years ago but were manageable and then no problems until I hit my head/neck 6 months

Do you think the injection that the Doctor gave me made me worse? He is a family friend and he gave me the shot as a favor. I didn't have a prescribed order for it and he said he would not do it again.  

My neck and should have hurt worse since he gave me the shot. He didn't do it by x-ray guided either. I'm thinking I should never have asked him to do that. I can feel the pain in the area he put the needle.  dumb dumb.. for me to do that.

I am getting excited to think I might be able to get well without surgery after hearing about yours.

Avatar universal
You should go see an ortho doc and get a MRI. Sounds like you injured some part of your cervical and I suggest a CAT SCAN to rule out a TBI ( You stated in Feburary you hit your head. How? on what? You took one helluva chance allowing doc freind to give you a shot in neck w/o first having  medical evidence to support this. HE/SHE could have further damaged a nerve, they know this, this is why they refuse to give you another. They should have known better, that was unethical. Whew!!! Anyway dont wait any further. I have a cervical hernia in my C2/3  causing neck pain, stiffness/numbness in fingers, and nerve impinging in L5/S1  with a diffuse bulging disc w/ leg nerve pain. Ive been experiencing muscle spasm upper and lower back and now muscle twitches all over my body except face and feet. GO now.
Avatar universal
Sorry about that, you had a MRI. You may want to see a nuerologist and get a EMG/NCV test to determine any nerve damange.
Avatar universal
The injections help some people and others they don't, it's really hard to tell what's going to happen. My Doctor was concerned about them making me worse, that's why she talked me out of having them.

Are your Doctors recommending surgery? If you're considering it, let me know. I had a cervical fusion at C6-7 five years ago, I'll share my experience with you.

Take Care
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