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Severe headaches, pain and weakness in arms and legs. MRI showed disc bulge. Done MRI. Cause for pain?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2001
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Hi, I've had severe headaches, pain, numbness, weakness of both arms, next, legs. Lost use of left arm hot 3 months & still have continued weakness in left side arm & leg. My MRI of cervicle region show straightening, disk bulge at c5 c6 c7 t2 with prominent osteophyte disk complex flattening the front ventral aspect of cord. Also disk dessication, & narrowing of disk height . I also had a Brain MRI at same time & it was unremarkable except linear changes in pins with t2 hyperintensivity That would fit clinical picture. I also have very similar problems with L4,L5, S1. Can you help me understand why I'm in so much pain. Thank you dr . XXXXXXX
Posted Thu, 24 Oct 2013 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 31 minutes later
Brief Answer:
pressure on the nerves in the back

Detailed Answer:
HI, thanks for using healthcare magic

The intervertebral discs ( the disc between the vertebra in the back) are composed of two main areas, the outer ring called the annulus fibrosis and the inner aspect called the nucleus pulposus.

These discs allow for movement of the spine , act as shock absorbers and allow the load on the spinal column to be distributed.
They are composed of cartilage and water gel like substance.

As persons become older or with trauma tears occur in the disc and the water content also decreases. This means it weakens and can no longer function as it is suppose to.

The tears in the surrounding ring (annulus fibrosis) results in bulging of the disc out through the vertebral spaces as you have stated was seen in your imaging tests.
This bulging disc can then compress or irritate nerve roots in the spine resulting in pain. Pain also occurs because the spine is unable to handle pressure /force as before.

The pain can be severe , as in your case.

Treatment mainly consists of physiotherapy to help to maintain function and improve back strength, medication and surgery if there is no response to other treatment methods.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any additional questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Severe headaches, pain and weakness in arms and legs. MRI showed disc bulge. Done MRI. Cause for pain? 24 minutes later
Could you please explain what flattening of the ventral aspect of cord mean? Could this cause any of my problems. How do you treat ODC & will it get worse? Thank you
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 21 minutes later
Brief Answer:
ventral refers to the front

Detailed Answer:

The ventral aspect refers to the front aspect. This means that because the discs are bulging and the space between the vertebra is narrower, there is flattening or compression towards the front of the spinal cord.

The narrowing of the disc space and the bulging discs causes compression/irritation of the nerves in the spinal column.This is essentially the same as mentioned above and is contributing to your symptoms.

The treatment is physio and pain medications, muscle relaxants can sometimes help.

If these treatments do not help then surgery may be suggested by your doctor.

Please feel free to ask anything else
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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