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MRI of spinal chord showing moderate focal protrusion. Should I be worried about the findings?

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Practicing since : 2001
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I just had an MRI done today and this is what it reads: C5-C6 Moderate focal protrusion/extrusion of the right posterior paracentral aspect of the C5-C6 intervertebral disc is seen. Disc material is seen to efface the right anterior aspect of the subrarachnoid space at this level and does appear to be coming in contact with and flattening the right anterior aspect of the spinal cord at this level. Moderate narrowing of the more caudal aspect of the right C6 neural canal is seen C6-Cy subtle focal protrusion of the posterocentral aspect of the C6-C7 intervertebral disc is seen causing mild neural encroachment. Please explain this to me in Laymans terms and let me know what normal treatment is.
Posted Tue, 10 Dec 2013 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Cervical spondylosis. Detailed Answer: Hello, Thanks for trusting us with your health concern. Your MRI report is suggestive of spondylottic changes in the cervical spine. Spinal cord extends from neck to lower back through spinal canal. Spinal canal is formed by vertebral body in-front and spinous process of vertebrae at the back. At each vertebral level nerves come out through neural foramen. Between each vertebra there are intervertebral discs confined within margins of vertebrae. When these discs come out of these margins, it is termed as disc bulge or herniation. This has happened at level of C5-6 and C6-C7 level in your case. There is mild disc bulge with no nerve compression. Treatment includes 1. Use of cervical collar helps in immobilisation and brings relief. 2. Medical drugs like pain killers - acetaminophen/ibuprofen and muscle relaxants might be helpful. 3. Cervical isometric exercises are beneficial to maintain the strength of the neck muscles. Neck and upper back stretching exercises, as well as light aerobic activities, also are recommended under the guidance of a physical therapist. 4. Hot fomentation helps in relieving acute symptoms. 5. You can avoid using a pillow. As you try these measures, I also encourage you to consult an orthopedician for both evaluation and to avail stronger prescription medications (if over the counter medications are not helpful). Please feel free to discuss further. I will be glad to answer the follow up queries that you have. Wishing you good health. Regards. Dr. Rakhi Tayal.
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