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Please help me understand what this means!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
I had an Mri on my lumbar WO contrast and these are the results:
L1-L2: Small broad-based posterior disk bulge. No central canal or foramina narrowing is seen.
L2-L3: There is mild by a lateral facet arthrosis. No disk bulge or herniation. No central canal or neural foraminal narrowing.
L3-L4: There is mild bilateral facet arthrosis. There is a small broad based posterior disk bulge which is left paracentral and left lateral in location. It causes mild narrowing of the left neural foramen. No central canal or right neural foramina narrowing.
L4-L5: There is a disk height loss and mild disk dessication. There is a small right paracentral posterior disk protrusion with associated annular tear. It causes mild to right lateral recess narrowing and mild right neural foraminal narrowing. No left lateral recess, central canal or left neural foraminal narrowing is seen.
L5-S1: There are changes of degenerative disk disease with disk height loss and this disk dessication. There is a focal right lateral disk protrusion with associated annular tear. It impinges upon the transiting right S1 nerve root but does not cause central canal or lateral recess narrowing.
I was seen March 1, and I follow up with my family M.D. on the 24th of this month, but in the meantime I am in Severe pain! Any thoughts or suggestions would be great! Thanks!


  • Do you have pain running down your right leg, into your foot? What are your symptoms?

    I gather your family doctor ordered the MRI and that you are not seeing a specialist at this point?

    The MRI indicates that you have some changes in your lumbar spine -- depending on your age, it may be nothing more than most people. There is a slight bulge at Lumbar 1-2. You have some arthritis type symptoms at L2-3 and L3-4. There is a slight bulge at L3-4 that is slightly impinging on the left foraminal (this is an exit hole where the nerve comes out from the spinal canal) space. This has the potential to cause some nerve compression.

    There are slightly more significant changes at the next two levels and it is probably these two levels that are causing your pain. But nothing jumps out as being really significant. Depending on the size of the bulge at L5-S1 and how much it is pushing on the S1 nerve root, I'm guessing this is the major source of your pain.

    Until you can get in to see your doctor, avoid any activities that involve bending, twisting and limit lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk. You can take aleve or similar for the inflammation and use ice or heat for discomfort. Put it on your lower back for 10-15 minutes per hour. (People usually prefer one or the other...) If you play sports, you might want to hold off until you see your doctor. But try to walk each day, as that is the best exercise for those of us with back issues. It keeps the blood flowing into the discs and will help with healing.

    Depending on your level of pain, you might want to make an appointment to see a spinal specialist, either a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon or a neurosurgeon. Avoid going to an orthopedic doc who has a general practice. You will want someone whose entire practice is devoted to the back and spine.
  • i could not have put it better myself! the L5/S1 usually are the cause of leg pain .i would go with ice myself .
  • Thank you so much for explaining the results to me in a way I can understand! Yes, I do get the shooting pains down my right leg and it feels like lava running down my leg. I have a difficult time trying to get comfortable, but found laying down is the most comfortable. Is it normal to experience numbness in my buttocks though? It's strange that it can feel numb but still burn all at the same time. Again, thank you for tking the time to help me understand it and the ice has helped too!
  • The suggestion of using ice has been very helpful in short spurts, thank you so much!
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