First, I would strongly consider taking Loftearmen up on his offer. A second read of your MRI and any other relevant (if you had any electrodiagnostic testing like EMG or nerve conduction velocity) testing is always a benefit. Sometimes new eyes find things. This is especially true if you think you may not have been given a ton of consideration previously.
Thank you for giving your age, that can be a factor in what specifically is likely to re-injure or not. It also helps with making any kind of predictions about what is likely to aggravate your condition.
Now, lets translate the report you gave in case any of the wording is leaving you behind. I hope you don't take this as being condescending, I just don't want clinical language to be a barrier. My comments/translation will be in italics.[
"Mild multilevel cervical spine degenerative changes-Degenerative changes happen over time. Usually they get described as age or overuse related. If you think of it as wear and tear you aren't that far off. Severe degenerative changes are to worn out what severe traumatic injury is to busted up. Stenosis and arthritic changes are often described this way.
disc osteophyte complex at C4-C5 and C5-C6 mildly effacing the ventral system
disclaimer, I have never seen the term ventral system show up on a cervical MRI report, at least that I can recall. I am going to lean or Loftearmen for an actual explanation here. Effacement is basically being blotted out or obliterated. Don't freak out by that language because we need to remember this is small stuff and using radiology/imaging terms. It doesn't mean hulk smash, it just means something is in a space where we would expect to see something else. Usually I read "effacement of the thecal sac" and it means that something is taking up part of the space that should be the exclusive stamping grounds of the spinal chord, cerebral spinal fluid, nerves, etc. Osteophytes are bony spurs that grow out from the normal anatomy. A disc osteophyte complex indicates that these spurs are involved at multiple levels, and involve cervical discs as well. Think calcification of tissue or new hard/calcified tissue developing in what should just have the softer(by comparison) intervertebral disc there. So bone is growing where it shouldn't be. This is often a finding when there are issues with stability or chronic overuse. One of the issues this can cause is that it takes up space, which can lead to
resulting in mild central canal stenosisStenosis implies a narrowing or decrease in space. The central canal is the space the spine that contains the chord, cerebral spinal fluid, etc. and it is formed by there being a "hole" for all that to run through in each vertebra. So from your report we learn that bony spurs/calcified tissue is getting in the way of "other stuff".
with facet arthropathy and uncovertebral spur, as above.The facets refer to the articular joints of the spine. They are also called zygapophyseal joints. It is worth knowing that these are pretty much normal synovial joints. Cartilage articular surfaces, synovial fluid lubrication, joint capsule around them, likely everything you think of when I say joint. Unless you post in the Bad Ideas thread. Then you would think Probable Cause. Arthropathy means that things are going on that are interfering with the normal, smooth movement of the joint. Because of the degenerative change language earlier we should probably think of an "over worn" joint. Like an 85 year old woman's hip. An uncovertebral spur is one of those damn bone spurs happening in the uncovertebral joint. This is an articulation between what is sort of a lip on the sides/lateral part of the lower vertebra and and the side of the vertebral body of the superior vertebra. This articulation helps limit movement/brings stability two the cervical spine. The spur means that lovely osteophytic thing is happening here as well.
There is straightening of the cervical spine lordosis.Lordosis refers to the inward/concave looking curve normally present in the neck and low back. The outward curve you notice in the thoracic spine is called a kyphotic curve. Your necks doesn't curve as much as "normal".
I am also going to translate the report into my native tongue of P.I.B.(Pennsylvania InBred)
The joints in yer neck is all wore out and they creek and they don't slide so good. Also some stuff is poking where all kinds of important wires, and tubes, and fluids, and such are.
Alright, so I was just having some fun there at the end.
Was any of that helpful?
Are you having any symptoms currently? If not what were they, and how did you treat them? If your VA medical team has you cleared for work/duty/didn't put any limitations on you there may still be some better and worse ways to approach what you do in training.
Again, I realize the above was likely all things covered previously or that you already knew. I sincerely hope I didn't cause any offense with the above. I just wanted to make sure "the report" was transparent for you as a starting point.