Mild, Moderate, Severe--What Does it All Mean?

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Last seen: 4 years 4 months ago
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Joined: 12/15/2010 - 1:28pm
Mild, Moderate, Severe--What Does it All Mean?

What do the gradations actually mean? The OA in my hand is allegedly "very mild" but it hurts like heck & I have to keep it braced.

My neck is "moderate" & I have a lot of symptoms, including pain & headaches.

My back is "mild" with DDD & L5 slipping over S1. Lots of pain & symptoms (waiting for MRI results).

What's up with this grading system? Am I supposed to have less pain in areas designated as "mild"? Seriously?

dilauro's picture
Last seen: 2 hours 6 min ago
Title: Moderator
Joined: 06/16/2008 - 9:41pm
Those words mean the same in any situation

No different from defining spinal problems. This is not any grading system.

However, many times these adjectives are subjective.

What may be mild to me is severe to you.....

These words have more meaning when they come from a professional (ie doctor)

Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Moderator
I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences.

lilac100's picture
Last seen: 10 months 3 weeks ago
Title: Member
Joined: 08/29/2009 - 1:07pm
From what my doctor says it

From what my doctor says it relates to the amount of damage, not the amount of pain. It really depends on where it is, if it is agitating a nerve mild damage could cause major pain. Likewise sometimes severe damage causes no pain.

Aviatrix36440's picture
Last seen: 3 months 3 weeks ago
Title: Member
Joined: 09/29/2009 - 10:35pm

I have to agree with both Ron and Lilac. I have severed osteophytes and disk bulge at my C2/3 - but not constant issues. When my C5/6 was going, the hernia was 'small', and it was killing me both in pain, and neurologically! The doctor has to compare the diagnostics with your exam to see what matters, and what doesn't - or is less important I guess is a better way of putting it.


PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.

charry's picture
Last seen: 2 months 1 week ago
Title: Member
Joined: 09/06/2008 - 12:39am
Hi Sassy

I have mild lumbar DDD also but with nerve compression issues not seen on the MRI but were seen on the EMG/nerve test. It certainly isn't mild pain for me either with a high dose of narcotics daily to manage my pain is not mild. I also had to stop working well, not to decide to stop working but not being able to get up for a week and bent over from pain daily made that decision for me. I hope you get the results back soon and see your neurosurgeon or Orthosurgeon soon or who ordered your MRI.

I'm not a candidate for surgery so pain management is important at this point with injections and medications and exercise. I will be starting pool physiotherapy again as it's the only exercise not pounding on my body. Keep us updated how you're doing and the Surgeon's treatment plan. TC. Charry

DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN