Lara was having some shoulder pain for a few weeks, and it wasn’t going away. I took her to see a doctor at the clinic, and she also had a few visits with a doc at school that did some manipulation, but she was still hurting. We went back to the clinic for some injections, and got some xrays. When the radiologist’s report came back, there were some abnormal findings, so we ended up getting an MRI. Lara has a few disks that are herniated dorsally (the arrows on the right). Lots of people get these, and although it looks bad – it’s usually no big deal. Same thing with the Chiari Malformation (left arrow). This is where the cerebellar tonsil protrudes through the foramen magnum at the base of the skull into the spinal canal. Also not a huge deal. The problem seems to be a combination of a reversal of the normal lordosis (the spine should have a natural backwards curve), and also a slight narrowing of the disk heights. She also has some mild osteophytes (bone spurs). All of these things are leading to a narrowing of the foramen that the nerve roots pass through as they exit the spinal canal. C5 and C6 serve the back of the shoulder and also go into the brachial plexus – eventually leading to the median and radial nerve. This is causing her some pretty intense pain and muscle spasms in her shoulder, as well as some tingling sensations down her arm. Right now her doctor is recommending some conservative treatment including physical therapy and accupuncture. We’re really hoping that she will be able to avoid surgery. Keep her in your thoughts and prayers.