I came across a great educational video today showing you what a trapped nerve in your neck looks like on a MRI scan. There have been so many times a patient will come into to see the chiropractor carrying, under their arms, the tons of MRI films of their necks. The patient does not understand what all the grey pictures mean, but something must explain the pain.
If you have had a MRI scan done on your neck before, to try diagnose a pinched nerve problem in your neck, then you will definitely enjoy the video. The video below will hopefully give you that ‘aha’ moment. You will get in both easy language and explanation from a spinal surgeon what the grey MRI scan images actually mean.
MRI Scan of your Neck
The video below is by Dr Donald Corenman who is in a unique position having studied as a chiropractor and a medical doctor. Donald talks about the MRI imaging done on a patient with right arm pain. Oh and by the way MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging.
In this case a compressed spinal nerve root was the cause of the patients arm pain.
Why Use an MRI Picture
This special diagnostic imaging machine produces a very detailed picture. These scans on a spine are ordered by doctors both in hospital and ones in private practice in order to see what is happening to the nerves and spinal discs in neck region with more detail than an x-ray.
This patient had degenerative bony spurs (a.k.a. osteophytes) that was the cause of their trapped nerve. They had no spinal cord compression from what most are worried about a herniated or bulging disc. A more serious condition that would have been assessed for would be a cervical spondylotic myelopathy.
The bony spurs are a sign of osteoarthritis of the spine and degenerative changes in the disc (a.k.a. degenerative disc disease). Medically speaking, the uncovertebral joints of the cervical spine are usually involved.
In the MRI example video it showed this person had extra bony growths at their C5-6-7 spinal levels. This mean both the right C6 and C7 nerve roots coming out of their neck could be irritated as they leave the spine.
For this persons pinched nerve it is medically called a cervical radiculopathy.
Key Points To Look For on a Scan
The key points if you are looking at your cervical MRI scans are that:
- Spinal nerve roots have small spaces to exit either side of the spine.
- This is an example of a compressed right C7 nerve root.
- Neck disc bulges are not always the cause of pain.
- Degenerative bony spurs can pinch the nerve.
- MRI scans are the best to see spinal discs and nerve roots.
Have you had a MRI scan of your neck done and since been told that you have a compressed nerve? Well I hope this video helped clear up some of your questions and visualise the problem.
Here are some self-help tips for a trapped nerve in the neck like what this person had on their cervical MRI scan.Image Credit: Some rights reserved by Muffet