MRI Scan of a Trapped Nerve in Neck


MRI Machine: The Trapped Nerve Scanner

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:

  1. Spinal nerve roots have small spaces to exit either side of the spine.
  2. This is an example of a compressed right C7 nerve root.
  3. Neck disc bulges are not always the cause of pain.
  4. Degenerative bony spurs can pinch the nerve.
  5. 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 CreditSome rights reserved by Muffet
  • Mary

    Hasn’t cleared meant sorry

  • Mary

    I have just come out of hospital after collapsing with a trapped nerve in neck and across shoulders. In was given morphine, diazepam etc but it
    Has cleared. I was discharged from hospital 5 days later,to continue with the mess administered and to get a referral doe physio from my g.p.
    I asked for an mri in hospital and was informed there was no need as no clinical signs for it , but if I went home I could ask for a referral from my go and come in as an outpatient . I’m still in severe pain and on prescribed hospital meds
    And feel very frustrated that they didn’t check with mri scan
    What are your thoughts please and my options.

  • Charlene Piche

    What treatment is given for this diagnosis. I’ve been told that I probably have a pinched nerve in my neck but isn’t confirmed yet. My MRI is scheduled for June 20th.I’m in excruciating pain that never eases up and why is it that it takes so long. Noone should have to go through this kind of pain to get treatment and can it be corrected? I’m desparate for help.

  • If you get a bad neck muscle spasm that can refer pain into your head giving you a headache feeling.

  • lynn phillis

    can trapped nerve cause migraines or sever headaches

  • HI Tayebkara, yes degeneration to the vertebrae in your neck can cause a
    trapped nerve it is one of the common causes for a trapped nerve pain from
    your neck and is called spondylosis or osteoarthritis sometimes. If the
    damage is from an accident then that too can be a cause an episode of a
    trapped nerve in your neck. It all depends on what the “damage” is with the

  • Tayebkara

    can damage vertebre on your neck cause a trape nerves