In 2002 I was diagnosed with significant degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine. C4/5 and C5/6 were affected to the greatest degree and an anterior cervical discectomies with interbody fusion using allograft bone and anterior cervical plating was surgically accomplished and highly successful.
About 3 weeks ago I started having a stabbing, burning pain in my back between my shoulder blades. It was so bad it hurt to carry my purse or turn my neck. There was no accident or trauma associated with the pain. I had an MRI and the doctor's office called me yesterday and read me the results (I did not speak to the doctor). This is all I can remember:
degenerative disc disease above and below the fusion
moderate neural foraminal narrowing at C3 & C4
encroachment point C4 left nerve
Can anyone help me understand these results? I'm taking premnidsone (sp)which has helped but I continue to be in a lot of pain.
You have degenerative disc disease in the discs above and below your fusion mass, of course. This is to be expected, as fusions transfer stress, mainly, to the discs immediately adjacent the fusion.
The C3-4 level there is narrowing of the neural foramina, which are the holes through which the nerve roots exit the spine. However, you do not say that the nerve roots are actually being pressed upon. The holes can be narrowed without root involvement.
You have bone marrow edema within the vertebral bodies of C6 through T1. Edema is a very nonspecific findings, as it can be caused by a whole host of disorders. From just some extra stress or pressure on the vertebral bodies, to degenerative changes, trauma, and all the way to tumors. But, if there was some anatomical, structural defect or disorder, that would have shown up on the study.
Not really sure what is meant by "encroachment point C4 left nerve". It may be that there is something encroaching on the left C4 nerve root, which would go along with the narrowing of the C4 neural foramina. However, encroachment is not compressing. It usually means that something is approaching or touching the nerve, but not smashing it.
You really need to discuss the results with your physician. All findings on any study have to be correlated with the patient's history and physical examination. Till that is done, they are just findings, without too much significance.