552681 tn?1215132532

Cervical Disc Bulges at C3-4, C4-5,C5-6 and C6-7

I have been a passive, yet loyal reader of this forum for awhile and decided today is the day that I post my question. I have learned much from others' questions, but I do have issues that I haven't found addressed so far. I am asking for help and guidance...

In May 2008, I experienced right side numbness in my arm while driving home from work. The numbness continued to the point that I lost use of the arm and it extended down into my right foot and leg and eventually into the right side of my face. Thinking that I was experiencing a stroke, my primary MD transferred me to a larger hospital where I underwent an MRI of my Head and Carotid U/S, and nothing was found at that time that could explain what was happening to me. My symptoms seemed to come and go without explanation, and I returned to my primary MD still seeking answers in Sept. 2008, and she ordered an MRI of my Cervical Spine.

This is  the results of my MRI:

C2-3: No disc bulge or protrustion.
C3-4: Mild diffuse bulge is present. No focal protrusion is seen.
C4-5: Mild diffuse bulge is present. There is mild flattening of the anterior aspect of the thecal sac. There is mild narrowing of the neural foramina bilaterally.
C5-6: Mild broad-based left posterolaterally disc protrusion is present. There is mild compromise of the left lateral recess.
C6-7: Mild broad-based right paracentral disc protrusion is present. There is minimal compromise of the right lateral recess;


This MRI report was six months ago, and my primary MD felt that this was due to some type of trauma that I may have experienced as a young child that is now causing me problems, I am 43, and recalled an incident of being hit in the back of my head with a bat while participating in softball. At the time of this diagnosis,I elected to just wait and deal with the symptoms as they arise.

I have been experiencing increasing symptoms for the past month or so, with increasing fatigue and migraines, then last week while sleeping, I felt an odd feeling of a "squishiness" in the back of my neck, then experienced the feeling of some liquid running down my neck, I was lying on my side at the time. Since this occurrence, I have been in constant pain and discomfort with my neck and my head feels so "heavy" and I am just exhausted most of the time. I was prescribed Elavil to help me sleep, but I experienced so much grogginess with it the next day, I only take it when I have to. Lately though, with the help of Tylenol PM, I am able to rest some, but within an hour of rising, those recurring symptoms of my head feeling heavy and pain in my neck now extend into my upper back through to my mid-chest. I also experience pain under my right arm and I have this feeling of a stick or poker-like pain in my right armpit.

I have been referred to a neurosurgeon and will be seeing him for the first time on March 24th. Does anyone have any experience with the above symptoms, and what would be your opinion about what I might be expecting to hear from the neurosurgeon? I am wondering about PT or epidural injections, or will he recommend surgery? The one thing I keep reading is the recommendation to wait on surgery until the last resort, and I can understand this, yet I am in pain now most of the time. How much more must I endure before I will know that it is "time"? Any and all opinions would be welcome right now!

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Avatar universal
I am just 27 years old and having the same problem. 24 hours in pain, not able to sit, walk and sleep properly. I visit many doctors, physio and massage therapist plus i tried every type od yoga, exercises and stretching muscles but nothing helped me out. I am too young for surgery and unmarried. I don't know how i will get rid of this problem and when. It feels like life is finished now. This pain, stiffness and numbness makes me feel like dead everyday. Can anyone tell me that "Is this problem will stay for lifetime?"
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Oh my, this all scares the hell out of me.  I received my MRI and it has many issues.  I am waiting to see the neurosurgeon on March 3, the chiropractor tomorrow and a laser surgeon possibly.  Obviously not sure what the heck I am doing yet.  The CSpine MRI shows small midline diosc herniation at C3-C4 level causing thecal sac flattening.   2mm C4-C5 retrolisthesis.  small broad based disc herniation and right posterolateral osteophyte formation at C4-C5 causing sac compression and servere right neural forminal stenosis. small disc herniation circumferential osteophyte formation and facet arthopathy at C5-C-6 and C6-C7.  Thats just the cervical.  The thorasic  had mild disc dessication at every level as did the cspine at every level, small midline disc herniation at T3-T4. small left paracentral disc herniation at T11-T12.  mild thecal sac flattening at both.
I had a sharp pain in my arm playing ping pong with my son, doc said get an MRI, wow this ***** hes sending me to a neurosurgeon.  I did have a car accident 20 years ago and had epidural shots - trigger point shots  but nothing for 10-12 years...  My name is Jill too and I am so much more aware of my pain, I guess my life was just way to busy but this is ridiculous really.
I'm going to see this specialist chiro tomorrow who will use cervical flexion distraction and instrument adjustments since hard adjustments/manipulations would really hurt.  I also did research about laser surgery and network spine analysis which is moving energy does anyone have any insight into any of this?  My twin sister had a titanium cage put in her spine and is totally disabled.
I don't want surgery but keep thinking a disc replacement might be  called for because no matter how the chiro manipulates not sure is will allow the disc to re-fill up??  I look forward to hearing from anyone whose been through this.  Thank you  Jill O
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Avatar universal
Hi, I would like some help reading my MRI results. Could you help? Also I need help figuring out what's the best thing to do to relieve pain? Surgery? Please help me!
Helpful - 0
16208097 tn?1446108219
Have you read anything about genetics link between Disc Disease, and Osteoarthritis in the other main joints?
You commented about endocrine disorders resulting from chronic pain?
What about chronic conditions from childhood adversity?
You see for me it all started at the ripe old age of 30.
I got married to this fabulous guy, and not long after I started falling apart.
First I thought it was my elbow, then it moved to my shoulder. My clavicle started protruding out my chest and was very painful.
My ortho is/was the best!! Steroid injections blah blah
Then we did the MRI showing my neck was a mess.
That lead to 2 different kinds of pain mgmt. spclst. One a anestheseologist (sp) to do I think the total was 16 facet injections with ZERO results but more pain!
The constipation from the other pain mgmt. spctlst that prescribed the narcotics I needed, and the drug test's to make sure I wasn't a street drug user too. The treatment that you are a drug addict because you need pain management was really close to the top for what was also traumatizing.
The ulcerative colitis from my guts not working added yet another specialist .At one point it was a full time job, and I had to make a song to keep track of all the kinds of MD's I was seeing
Primarary Care, Orthopedic, microneurosurgeon, gastroenterologist, rhuemetologist, and don't forget the shrink. on and on.
Im trying to keep this short, but boy I still have a ways to get to my target.
Long to short, I had to have discectomy, fusion at C5-6 at 32
The surgery was a horrendous experience for me. The pain almost broke my mind. Im serious! I would have volunteered for electro shock therapy to have gotten out of that  first 24 hrs of pain.
I didn't get any results from the surgery, other than a scar on my throat.
Afterwards I went through more torture with a discography, and the one with dye in your spinal cord (cant remember the name) Only for the specialist to tell me that my neck was extremely degenerated, and my only future option was that by 50 I would have a rod and no longer be able to knod or turn my head. HIS WORDS  were that my head would be on a stick.
So I decided to learn to cope with pain, and to have a baby.
At 35 I had a boy
After pregnancy I developed migranes, then high blood pressure. Then tachycardia. At 36 I was diagnosed with HPV and cervical cancer.
My hysterectomy almost killed me when I developed a blood clot in my belly and had to be rushed in for a second surgery, and transfusion. 24 hrs later I had a pulmonary embolism.And then I developed another clot in my belly that we just left there.
A few days later a friend had called for a ride after she had been drinking. I went and picked her up, and on the way home fell asleep, hit a pole and killed my best friend of 22 yrs. I was convicted because of the medications in my system.
I was sent to prison for 7 years.
While I was incarcerated my medical care ceased to exist. If you aren't in critical care, there isn't anything wrong with you regardless of your previous conditions.
My therapist didn't want to give me my usual psych med there (to expensive) so instead they gave me lithium until I was hallucinating Finally when I told them about all the colors I could see they checked the levels in my blood to discover I was toxic.
For five years I got more and more tired. And rapidly fatter and fatter even without eating. The first year I gained sixty lbs. I cried to the doctors, they told me it happened to all women incarcerated.
In my sixth year I got my second set of blood work/labs only to find my thyroid dead.( Most likely fried from the lithium )
Now I have been home for a little over a year. Less than two weeks after I got home I was hospitalized with pneumonia/sepsis,
I got better, we went to Hawaii for a month. Came home. Within 3 weeks I started feeling tired again. Then I started sweating. I mean sweating. I have never been a sweater!! And I haven't stopped since Feb.
Now Im dealing with Excessive sweating  Hashimotos diagnoses, but hyperthyroid symtoms. I am certain I have pots. My tachycardia is through the roof whenever Im on my feet. (which turn purple upon standing. I am not functioning at all. I have always been a perfectionist, and now I cant even shower without thinking Im going die. My heart gets up to 180 when I shower, and then I can't breath, and it takes a good 45 mins of laying down to stop being drenched in sweat. My tests show  everything normal except my thyroid levels goin up and down and my norepinephrine is 3x to high. My Primary thought I had an pheocromocytoma, but that was negative.
So Im told I have pots, fibro, adrenal failure, metabolic disorder, hashimotos, sjorens, chronic fatigue, hypertension, tachycardia, ptsd, obesity w/o diabetes, and degenerative disc disease, I need a right knee replacement due to 5 surgeries (ACL repairs)with current  RA,OA, torn meniscus, bone spurs and a ACL torn from graph.
Today we did 3 xrays of my neck, cause of elbow and shoulder pain again
and of course its not pretty. C4-5 has extensive degeneration.
I have not been on narcotics since the accident. 8 yrs 4 months. I am now 48, and my head is not on a stick yet.
Do you think I will make it to 50?
Do I want to make it to 50?
Do you see any connections? Other than the fact that there'.s no cure or treatment for any of these conditions?
Thank you for your time

Helpful - 0
7721494 tn?1431627964
Please don't tag on to an old thread.

Open a new question. This way others can follow, and I'll be more likely to read it.

"central disc bulge is seen indenting the thecal column mildly effacing the anterior subarachnoid space." does not usually cause radiating pain (radiculopathy).

And a slight effacement of disc material, osteophyte, or whatever against the thecal sac (which contains the spinal cord, wrapped in fluid), is not a cause for acute pain.

I suspect that you have long-standing cervical spine disease, and there is some occlusion of the intervertebral foramen that is encroaching on the C6 nerve root.

Discuss this with your physician.

Cervical disc disease is not usually cause for alarm. It can be painful, yes, and pain should be treated.

A good physical therapist can help with cervical disease, especially when it is still mild to moderate.

Now many surgeons will want to go in there and "fix" it. Don't be tempted to believe them. Get second or third opinions until you hear the truth about what happens to people who have disc removal surgery -- some get better, some get worse.

And learn all you can about cervical disc disease. Start with sites like spine-health.com and spineuniverse.com. Learn the vocabulary, learn the anatomy, the disease states, the treatment options, and their outcomes.

When you become a partner with your phyiscian in your health care, you'll be able to make decisions that result in the best treatment outcomes. It's a fact.

Otherwise you risk a life of pain and disability, unless you are very lucky to find a physician who is both knowledgeable, honest, and who is also very lucky.

As for the vitamin D thing, it could mean some kind of endocrine disease unrelated to your spine, but maybe not. The thyroid gland wraps around the spine at about that level.

Supplement your D3 levels with OTC cholecalciferol tablets -- 50,000 units every week. They cost about $20 for 100 capsules on the internet. Same stuff as the pharmacy, and less expensive.

You should also have thyroid levels drawn -- TSH, T3, and T4.

Your PCP will know what to do about this. Look for symptoms of weight gain/weight loss. Other glands may also be involved.

Chronic pain can also effect the endocrine system, which is why it is important to have pain treated, not ignored because a physician is "uncomfortable" with prescribing effective medication.

Best wishes.
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Avatar universal
I had sporadic episodes of sudden upper neck and back stifness the pain of hich radiates to my right hand causing a bit numbness. recently few days back while being seated in office my neck and back frezzed again causing immense pain. Then i referred to doc.MRI report reveals C5 - C6 central disc bulge is seen indenting the thecal column mildly effacing the anterior subarachnoid space. Moreover my Vit D levels are very low 15.7 ng/ml
Kindly advise
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I have 2 bulged discs and 2 annular tears and am going to be having a double disc replacement in 10 months time. Your injuries/symptoms sound similar to mine. Maybe surgery is something you can look into if you have tried all the alternative treatments available but had no success?
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Avatar universal
Who did the surgery?
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Avatar universal
It is probably because you are on the wrong pain killers. There are different kinds of pain. The pain caused by bulging discs etc is called neuropathic pain and normal pain killers won't touch it. You would need something like Gabapentin or low dose trycyclic antidepressants. This post was quite a while ago and I hope things are better now. If not ask to be referred to a pain specialist. Kind regards
Helpful - 0
13648886 tn?1430931032
Hi my name is Margie and 50 years old. I have severe pain in my shoulders, neck and arms....more so on left than right and tingling in both hands.

Please help me understand the severity of my mri ....please note that I had surgery done on c5-c6 3 years ago.

History..disc disease

Posterior fossa is normal. Spinal cord is normal in caliber and course without syrinx. Bone marrow signal demonstrates Modic changes of c4-c5, & surgical hardware at c5-c6 which causes degradation of image quality.

The precedential soft tissue is normal.

C3-c4 demonstrates a very small central disc protrusion measuring 2mm in SO dimension and 3mm in transverse dimension. This effaces anterior thecal sac but does not contact the cord. Neuroforamina are widely open.

C4-c5 demonstrates a broad-based diffuse disc bulge effacing the anterior thecal sac and contacting the cord but not causing cord signal or contour abnormality. Minimal hypertrophy of the uncovertebral joints results in bilateral neuroforaminimal narrowing not grossly contacting the exciting nerve roots.

C5-c6 demonstrates metallic artifact degrading image quality and altering signal which obscures complete visualization of this level. The spinal cord is normal. The neuroforamina appear open.

C6-c7 also demonstrates signal loss from metallic artifact. A diffuse disc bulge is present flattening the anterior thecal sac. There is bilateral neuroforaminal narrowing right side greater than left not grossly contacting the exiting nerve roots.

C7-t1 shows no disease.


1. Hardware at c5-c6  degrades image quality.

2. Broad-based disc bulge c4-c5

3. Broad-based disc bulge c6-c7

I would appreciate any input for better understanding. Thank you very much.

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7721494 tn?1431627964
We're referring to levels in the spine.
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12764725 tn?1427132587
c3/4 c/5/6 c/6/7 c/4/5 what does this mean
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7721494 tn?1431627964
Sorry, but we cannot recommend treatment here. There's a lot going on with your spine. You've got to talk this over with your doctor. Also, a consult with an interventional pain specialist (DABPM) is advised.
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Avatar universal
bilateral spondylolysis (pars defect) of the L3 vertebra with grade Isondylolisthesis of the L3 over L4 vertebra causing narrowing of foramina bilaterally.Pseudoannular bulge with medium sized left lateral and far lateral focal protrusion of intervenening L3-4 disc, indenting the thecal sac, compressing the left existing L3 nerve root and partially obliterating foraminal fat. canal stenosis is present at this level.Mild diffuse annular bulge with left posterolateral annular tear of L4-5 disc,indenting the thecal sac and partially obliterating foraminal fat bilaterally.Moderate to severe facet osteoarthropathy at this level. Canal stenosis is present at this level.
Small broad based central protrusionb of L1-2 disc, indenting th thecal Sac.
Herniation of C4-5, C5-6, D5-6 and D8-9 discs,indenting the thecal sac.
plz recommend treatment.
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Avatar universal
Hi there
I went back to the gp this morning with crippling pain last night there putting an urgent referral in for me to see orthopaedic consultant I have been waiting a year for this mri took a year for  a dr to reffer me I just seem to be fighting for advice all the time . I let you know what happens with consultant  hope they help. I had to stop breastfeeding my daughter as I needed to take tablets for the pain it even hurt when I lie down its got a lot worse also taking codine , naproxen & diazipam doesn't help very much , sorry you're in so much pain all the best.
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7525620 tn?1391621195
Misty81x   /   Ruby03   /     joesl8  

I would be interested to hear how you are all getting on, it's coming up 6 month's since I damaged my neck with 3 prolapsed discs with all touching the spinal cord and 1 causing nerve root compression and they are happy to leave me on pain killers that are not working
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Avatar universal
Hi there
Thiis is my first post I have slight. Curvurture of the spine in mid thoracic region and depression of mid thorax scince I was 15 as a large piece of lead fell on me from a building didn't really have much trouble until I had my second child 7years later after I coughed and pain .after visiting a chiropractor years down the line for my back problem I now have a chronic neck problem which includes/
C3/c4 degenerative disk with slight loss of hydration &disk height also a small broad based postero left lateral disk prolapse causing mild canal and left forminal stenosis & loss of Csf space ,

C4/c5 mildly degenerative disk with small posterior disk protrusion

C5/c6 annular bulge

C6/c7 small right paracentral disk prolapse which maybe impinging on a nerve root in lateral recess .

I am so terrified been in constant pain for 14 months with NECk &back waiting to see a neck specialist ,I get blurred vision tinnitus balance problems and sometimes shake with the pain I'm also a mum of 3 and breast feeding so all I'm taking is paracetamol and ibuprofen any tips or advice .I'm sure the chiropractors made my condition 50% worse ?
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Avatar universal
I recently started getting neck pain after going to the gym one day. I'm not sure if it's pre-existing, my doctor questioned if I had prior accidents, which I have not? I have C5-6 minor uncovertable hypertrophy without stenosis, C6-7 3 mm broad  posterior protrusion noted. Subligamentous location and causes a mild deformity upon the contour of the spinal canal, though without spinal stenosis. Canal is 11 mm ante posterior...whatever the hell this all means, my left side is in constant pain. I feel pain from my neck, to my back and shoulders and radiating pain at my elbow with tingling in my index, now all fingers. My left side goes numb and feels like a leg that fell asleep to wake up to painful tingling. I got the runarounds for some time, probably due to HMO insurance BS. First PT, then Neurologist, then after three months of suffering an MRI, just on my neck. Now they want to do shots into the C6-7. Dr said no surgeon would do the procedure unless it got worse (or if I jump through a ton of hoops first). Not sure what to do but not to be punny, but I feel your pain...everyone's pain. Wish you guys the best.
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Avatar universal
I have been having increasing pain in all parts of my body due to trauma to my neck. I received the report without doctor recommendations which is stressing me out so bad... My comment/question is: what would be recommended for an impression on a MRI report such as this:
1. Superiorly oriented right central disc extrusion at C6-7 without significant mass
2. Left central protrusion with annular tear at C5-6 without significant mass effect
3. Small right central protrusion at C4-5 without significant mass effect
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Avatar universal
I  am a 38 yr old female who took a fall 3 years ago going up stairs - fell at abt the 3rd of 4th step, twisted and turned in ways unimaginable. Since my fall, my back has not been the same and continues to get worse, however- MD's have not been able to provide me with much of a diagnosis. However, experience pain all over the back, lower back and sacral - at times I have experienced numbness on the right side.

Here is my MRI results - please tell me your thoughts -
-non specific straightening of the cervical lordosis without subluxation.
- C4/C5: small cenral disc herniation, protrusion type is mild central canal narrowing or neural foramnina bilaterally patent.
- C5/C6: There is a diffuse disk bulge. No significant central canal or neural foraminal narrowing.
C6/C7: Small central disc herniation, protrusion type of mild central canal narrowoing and neural foramina bilaterally patent.

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Avatar universal
Moderately large left paracentral disc herniation at c5/6 compromisation to c7 nerve root.

I have heavy pressure on my head. 1 year has past  . what to I do?
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1326416 tn?1370927001
THIS IS AN OLD POST  from 2009!!! I hope he is doing better. I wish we could find out. This happens a lot on this site. I think it still benefits people though, as it could be similar to other peoples symptoms, etc.....
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Avatar universal
I have the same symptoms with the numbness, it does get frustrating at time..I went to the hospital 3 times thinking I was having a stroke. It is a very sacry feeling. I sleep upright on the couch when I am having an episode due to the dizziness. I dont understand the dizziness though, it just happens whenever and I am so afraid of driving or even going to work. Has anyone applied or thouhgt of applying for disability?
Helpful - 0
329165 tn?1515471990
Hi there,

I had a neck fusion done during 2011 due to spondylosis at C5, 6 and 7 level.  

I had a neck injury (fell backwards and split my head open while ice skating) 20 years ago.  We applied for Australian Visa's and Visa-doc send me for a MRI and that lead to me having the operation.

Now, 2 years post-op I can not imagine that I was in pain for almost 7 years prior to getting the surgery done!  If I had known what difference the fusion would have made in my life, I would have done it earlier!

If you are a surgical candidate you should really consider getting it done.
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