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Re: C-5/6 Herniation/Indented Spinal Cord

Posted By CCF Neurolgy MD - AY on December 20, 1998 at 07:37:51:

In Reply to: C-5/6 Herniation/Indented Spinal Cord posted by L on December 11, 1998 at 15:49:57:

Hi. I wrote some time ago, about possible symptoms w/ a c-spine disc bulge,
but didn't have all the info at that time. I saw my family dr this morning,
who had the report from my neurologist. Apparently, my C-5/6 disc is herniated, & is indenting
my spinal cord. My family dr says this is a very serious situation, & that
he's seen people paralyzed from this condition. The thing is, I have
absolutely NO SYMPTOMS from this! The dr had me turn my head different ways,
& put pressure on the top of my head, expecting something to happen.....I
didn't feel anything, except for his pressing on my head, & a little of that
same pressure in my neck, as one would expect. I have no pain in my neck,
shoulders, arms, etc, nothing at all. I'm a very active person, & have
never had anything bother my neck, nor do I remember any incident w/in the past
1.5 yrs that could have caused this injury (my last c-spine MRI's were normal).
I have been treated for "probable MS" for several yrs now, & my neuro feels
that this disc problem is the cause of all my symptoms, although I've had
my symptoms for many yrs now, & as I said, my last c-spine MRI's from '97
completely normal.
How serious a situation is this really, w/out your actually seeing the MRI's?
What kinds of symptoms would one have w/ a C-5/6 herniation that is indenting
one's spinal cord? My mother had a herniated disc back in '92, & I'm still
convinced our local hospital sent her old MRI's to my neuro (they're the
Kings of Ineptitude)....I remember how much agony Mom was in w/ her disc
herniation, & I certainly am going through nothing like that! In fact, other
than the very sporadic symptoms I've been having over the past several yrs (balance
problems, numbness & tingling, ON, tight band sensations & other skin sensations,
fatigue, spasticity, & weakness, mainly), I generally feel pretty good!
Your thoughts?
Thanks in advance!

Thanks for your question.  A disc herniation that is actually compressing/
indenting the spinal cord is indeed very symptomatic.  It is, however,
difficult to gauge the acurary of the MRI reading/interpretation without
seeing the actual image.  Most often, a moderate/severe compression of the
spinal cord will also manifest as a "signal intensity abnormality" which
is a result of the tissue damage and edema that is occurring to the cord.
A lesion of this magnitude would certainly cause both motor and sensory
alterations to one or both arms, and if it is severe enough, symptoms to
the entire body below that level (C5-C6).  I strongly suggest you re-discuss these imaging studies with your physician.
I hope this information is helpful. Best of luck.
These information is provided just for general medical education.

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