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AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I've been reading through an old medical report of mine and came across terms that I hadn't noticed before.

The report goes back to Sept 2002 and states MRI reported as normal with the exception of degeneration at L4/L5 level with a DISC BULGE INDENTING THE SPINAL THECA.


Now in February 2009 I had an epidural to try and control my pain based on MRI's dating back to these dates and has made my pain treble in intensity.

I have a doctors appointment on May 28th and I suppose my question is..."what should I be asking the doctor and should I be insisting on another MRI?"

If anyone can explain these medical terms to me I'd be very grateful.


  • and welcome

    in answer to your question yes you probably need a current MRI to see where you're at in comparison & what is going on.The protrusion may have resolved itself by now or gotten worse or stayed the same & it's the joints that are making the pain worse...

    the 1st part means you have degenerative disc disease which is normal for everyone as we have the luxury of getting older, but for some we are symptomatic with it. the facet joint notation are also a degenerative process as those are the joints in our back and usually is referred to as spondylosis aka arthritis. the bulge/protrusion is a description of what the L4-5 disc itself looks like, the problem with it is all radiologist describe it differently and thus you will need to take your film to the doc to assess it. I would refer you to chirogeek.com it's a great site and has great descriptions of how the disc can be noted.

    well good luck
  • If you go to www.chirogeek.com and click on the mri homepage, you'll get some of the best info out there. Good luck.
  • You do need a new MRI...most doctors want an MRI that's less than a year old to work with. Then, I would ask for flexion xrays, where they take xrays while you are bending forwards and backwards, and later a myelogram. I have followed some of the same paths as your back has with DDD, facet joints being eaten away and bulging discs. If my doctors had done the flexion xrays, they would have saw the spondyloltheliosis (not sure of the spelling)...but where the vertebras are jumping out of bed upon certain movements, but when you are lying down in the MRI machine, they look fairly decent. My L3/4 showed as slightly jutting out of the normal line, then the myleogram showed a torn disc at L4/5. Well I had fusion surgery on L4/L5 and ended up having a revision to add hardware to L3/4/5 to hold them all together and stablize things.

    I was hurting severely when I moved and had a feeling of being out of whack in my bones. I could hear my bones grind and pop but no one took notice, until the fusion cages started walking themselves out into my spinal canal. ARGH!

    So, not to scare you, but press for the tests that you feel will clarify all of your pain and symptoms. Also don't minimize your pain levels when you see the doctor. I had a bad habit of doing that (to be strong) and would suffer for it after I got home. I would say I'm achey and they would dismiss me. Then, I got to saying it felt like steak knives with the serrated edges embedded in me! which was the truth, but wow, how do you describe the feelings. Now, with the hardware I feel like my bones are normal feeling. I don't feel so loose. I hope all of this helps you somehow, cause I am rambling some.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes...
  • can usually detect a spondylolisthesis as well. It is usually graded,1-4 in severity. If you google the spondy images you will see some examples.

    Lisa it may have been ever so slight and may be the reason it wasn't picked up. Also a discogram can detect annular(disc)tears I just mention this as another option as it is less invasive.

    good luck Scott hopefully you won't need any of this stuff. Also if the doc says surgery pls get a second and/or third opinion with films in hand.
  • Thank you Pettynme,Nancy and Lisa for your advice and information.
    I'd like to say I won't take any meds on the day of the appointment(Thursday 28th) but the reality of it is I'd never get to the hospital without them.

    I've received some really good help and information off the generous people on this site and I'll certainly be seeing the Specialist armed with a darn site more information than I ever thought possible.

    I'll wait til they try and fob me off with excuses about costs for treatment/scans etc and then start asking questions like:
    Why haven't I been offered anything like..Myleograms or discograms or even MRI's under tension?

    How can they hope to give me the correct treatment if they haven't got a proper disgnosis in the first place.
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