Part of a medical exam result reads:

C3 to C7 mild posterior disc bulging with mild impression on dural sac is seen.

Spinal cord
(Image Credit: Wikipedia) Given the fact that C3 is followed by C4 in the cervical cord, can C3 apply any pressure on C7 which is located much below it? Is there any possiblity of typo in the exam?

1 Answer 1


I think you are misunderstanding what that sentence says - as I interpret it it means that the posterior discs from C3 to C7 are bulging. So all five of them, C3/4/5/6/7 (or rather, the four discs between them) are affected.

  • Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, that's just how I would read a result like this, and I have seen that notation used elsewhere (C1 to C7, for example)
    – YviDe
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 14:16
  • Thank you. I guess you are right, however, I think the sentence could be structured more clearly e.g. bulging of posterior discs C3 to C7. Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 17:56
  • Well, it did say "C3 to C7", not "C3 and C7".
    – anon
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 20:31
  • 1
    @YviDe - Yes, that is clearly what was meant; it's not ambiguous. C3 to C7 is inclusive, and quicker to say than "the discs of C3/4, C4/5, C5/6 and C6/7." The former is the typical way radiologists report results. The OP may be thinking that the bulging disc is so out there that it stretches to the C6/7 space. But this is not how it works. Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 20:47

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