HomeAnswersOrthopedician and Traumatologyback painWhat does my MRI report suggest as the cause of my chronic back pain?

Kindly interpret the MRI reports for my unbearable and worsening back pain.


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Published At July 4, 2021
Reviewed AtAugust 25, 2023

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

I have worsening pain in my back for two decades. It has exacerbated a lot more now. I have unbearable pain throughout my back, along with chronic myofascial pain. I drove a school bus for 14 years with manual doors. I am having worsening severe pain in my thoracic region. Currently, I am taking Tizanidine 3 mg, Tramadol 50 mg, Fioricet, Baclofen 10 mg, and Prednisone 2.5 mg. Previously I have taken Soma. Can you help me interpret my MRI report? My report says, "standard non-contrast MRI of the thoracic spine was obtained with a 3 Tesla spectra scanner. No prior studies for comparison. Vertebral body alignment is normal. Vertebral body height is well maintained throughout the thoracic spine. There is moderate degenerative disk disease extending from T4-T5 through T11-T12 with disk space narrowing, endplate irregularities, signal loss in the disks on T2-weighted images, and small disc osteophyte complexes. At the T6-T7 level, there is a small superimposed central disk herniation. This causes mild ventral deformity of the spinal cord as it crosses the defect. There is also some minimal flattening of the ventral spinal cord as it crosses a disk osteophyte complex at T4-T5. The foramina are widely patent at each thoracic level. The cross-sectional area of the spinal canal is ample. The spinal cord is normal in signal intensity. No focal spinal cord lesions are seen. Impression: Moderate degenerative disk disease from T4-T5 through T11-T12. Small central disk herniation at T6-T7 is associated with slight ventral deformity of the spinal cord as it crosses this level. There is a mild ventral deformity of the spinal cord as it crosses a disk osteophyte complex at T4-T5."


Welcome to icliniq.com.

1) Vertebral height is normal - So no fractures.

2) Vertebral alignment is normal - No scoliosis and kyphosis.

3) Moderate degenerative disk disease from T4 to T12 - No need to think much about this finding. With the aging process, everyone will develop degenerative disk problems. In MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) film, the disk will be looking black in with the central white area. With age, that central white area will disappear, and that is the degenerative process. Because of that, disk space will get narrowed.

4) Central disk herniation at T6-T7 - This will be the reason for your pain. It means the disk between the vertebral body came out and compressing the spinal cord that is present outside, and causing pain. The pain spreads in a band shape around the chest and abdomen.

5) Almost the same findings at T4-T5 as T6-T7.

6) No spinal cord lesion - No tumors.

This finding might be the reason for the pain. There is a spinal cord compression, but the spinal canal diameter is ample, so it is not severe. This MRI finding is not related to myofascial pain. I hope I have cleared your doubts. Thanks.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Maddika Sivasankarreddy
Dr. Maddika Sivasankarreddy

Orthopedician and Traumatology

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