Posted 4/19/2008 9:33 PM (GMT -6)
Who ordered this MRI?? If you have the report, so does the ordering doctor, who should at least have the courtesy to share his views with you. Sorry, doctors are not high on my list this week.....
I'm not a radiologist, and I don't know what symptoms prompted the MRI, but a disc protrusion into your spinal cord is not a good thing. However, it could be entirely asymptomatic. Stenosis is the medical term for a narrowing of the spaces in the spine where nerves travel through. Therefore, a mild stenosis could represent impingement of a nerve root. The "broad based disc protrusion" at C4-5 could cause impingement as well, and probably cause neck, shoulder, arm, or hand pain, or all of the above.
I suggest you call your doctor's office and ask someone to explain this to you. However, I applaud your effort to decipher it yourself and get advice from this forum. I just recently found out that an MRI I had 3 years ago showed a small disc protrusion at L4-5, although my doctors reported it to me as a "clean" report. Most people have some small "imperfections" that show on an MRI, so many docs dismiss any "small" protrusions, stenosis, etc., as normal. However, research clearly shows there is no correlation between the size of a disc bulge/protrusion/herniation and the amount of pain it causes. Very small bulges can cause excruciating pain and disability, while complete herniations remain asymptomatic. Needless to say, I have been suffering in chronic pain ever since, and required another MRI and a discography to properly diagnose me.
Hang in there, learn all you can, make your doc explain everything in detail to you, and seek out the best specialists you can find. Good luck and God Bless.