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Dr. David
Dr. David, Doctor
Category: Health
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Experience:  Ten years practicing as a licensed family physician.
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C3 C4 disc bulge with indentation of the ventral margin

Resolved Question:

I have c3, c4 disc bulge with indentation of the ventral margin of the thecal sac and the cord. At c5, c6 there is narrowing of the left neural foramina due to bony spurring. c6 c7 there is a disc bulge with indentation of the ventral margin of the thecal sac. There is anterior fusion at c4 c5 and the neural foramina are patent. What does all this mean exactly?

Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. David replied 7 years ago.

I would like to help you interpret your MRI results, or is it a CT Scan??
Either way...the cervical spine is the part that makes up the neck. There are 7 vertebra in the cervical spine numbered C1, C2, C3, etc. Between each vertebra and the next one is an inter-vertebral disc that acts as a cushion.
Sometimes the discs become damaged or degraded for various reasons and they start to bulge out from in-between the vertebrae, like a burger coming out of the bun.
One other piece of anatomy that you need to know is that the spinal cord sits right up against these vertebra and discs.
So for you, "C3 & C4 disc bulge with indentation of the ventral margin of the thecal sac and the cord" means that the inter-vertebral discs between the 3rd and 4th vertebra in your neck are bulging out and pressing on your spinal cord. I imagine that you are probably having symptoms of neck pain that is shooting down your arms because of this. It is a fairly serious condition that you have here.
"C5 & C6, there is narrowing of the left neural formamina due to bony spurring" means that there is some arthritis and degeneration in the vertebrae themselves which is probably making your symptoms worse. Also this can result in decreased range of motion in the neck.
"C6 & C7, disc bulge with indentation of the ventral margin of the thecal sac. There is anterion fusion at C4 C5 and the neural foramina are patent" means that the disc between the 6th and 7th vertebrae is also pressing up against your spinal cord. The holes in the vertebrae where the nerves come out is still open, so that's a good sign. But the 4th and 5th vertebrae are starting to fuse together in front, which is less encouraging since it will restrict movement of the neck.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.

What are my options for this?

Expert:  Dr. David replied 7 years ago.

If you haven't tried some of the alternative therapies that are available, then that might be a good place for you to start.
It may be well worth the effort to get the opinion of a reputable chiropractor. They have a system called "decompression therapy" which has helped many people with bulging discs. A physical therapist may also be able to help you with decompression.
Another option may be to visit an acupuncturist. Acupuncture can be extremely helpful for the pain, numbness, and tingling that you may experience from the bulging discs. A combination approach of acupuncture and manual therapy such as massage has worked wonders for people.
Stretching exercises and yoga can possibly be part of your treatment plan as well depending on your level of mobility.
It sounds like you have tried the injections. Some people do well on the pain medications, but they are not a permanent solution.
The last option that you will want to consider is the surgery. This is not something to rush into unless it is absolutely necessary. My best advice is to explore every other possible avenue for as long as you can. If you really need it, then you can always consider surgery later.
I wish you the best of luck. Please let me know if you have any other questions.