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Degenerative Disc Disease - Annulus Question ??????

JohnstoneJJohnstone Posts: 4
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease

I'm new here and this forum looks like a good place to exchange information about back issues.

On November 1, 2007, I had an x-ray done on my lower back and the radiologist report stated I had "mild degenerative selerosis involving the posterior elemnts at L4-5, and L5-S1".

Story short, little by little over time the pain has increased. Last Tuesday (July 21, 2009), I had an MRI of the lumbar spine done without, and with contrast. This test (MRI) was preformed by a different radiologist. This reports says "L5-S1 Mild narrowing with broad posterior bulging slightly greater on the left without neural impingement".

IMPRESSION: "Mild bulging annulus L5-S1".

Question(s) - The raiologist that provided the MRI result makes no mention of any issue of L4. Is this because the MRI didn't show any thing abnormal regarding L4?

There is no mention of degenerative disc disease in the MRI report. Is this because the MRI may not show this?

Is "mild bulging annulus L5-S1" something that I developed since the x-ray was take in November 2007?

Anyone reading this post know anything about SI joint pain? In addition to the above, I've developed a LOT of pain in my left SI joint. My doc ordered two MRI's,....(spine and SI joints/pelvis). The MRI's were done on two different appointments. As such, I received the results to the first MRI (spine) last Friday, and should receive the results to the SI joints/pelvis MRI this coming Wednesday. I have more pain coming from my left SI joint than I do with my spine which is NOT good. Having pain in just one of these aress is bad enough, but having two areas of pain will really affect your quality of life.

Thanks in advance for your comments/recommendations.




  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    Welcome to spine health. I can't answer your questions but I'm sure someone here can. I do know about SI joint pain (or that's what I think it is). Do you have trouble sitting?
    Hope you're having a good day.

  • I had disk pushing against the nerve root where comes out of the spine (Sciatic nerve). Before the disk herniated the SI Joint became tight and was released manually (Chiropractor and Physiotherapist qualified in Manipulation). While my pain felt like it was coming from the SI joint the current belief from the MRI is that it is a disk issue. There are others that have genuine SI issues not caused by the spine so your doctor has ordered a full investigation and you should consider that as a good thing!

    In terms of the radiologist your doctor will see the full report but may choose to communicate the relevant sections verbally that is causing your reported symptoms (i.e. causing the pain) and not tells you other things that may simply worry you! This will be for you to continue to work through with your doctor.

    Welcome and kind Regards
  • I have SI joint issues, especially after my surgery at L5 S1. I do have trouble sitting, and have learned to put the SI joint back in place myself, but it keeps coming out of place. I was not aware a MRI could tell you anything about the SI joint from all I have read, so I would love to hear what the Dr. says. I had a MRI on the hip and Pelvis in April, and I am having another MRI on the lumbar spine this week. My PT says I have SI joint issues, and the PM Dr. wants to inject it, and said that until the inflammation goes away, it will keep coming out of place. I guess they only move 2 to 4 mm at best, not much, but enough to cause pain! Let us know what you find out, and are you doing any PT? I have pain right in the "DIMPLE" area on the left side of the butt. Also, sciatia pain when it is out of place, and butt pain. Sitting stinks, to put it bluntly! And to Sunny, I also have a tarlov cyst at the S2 level, but no one seems to think its a problem. I WONDER! sweetpotatoe57
  • I also have a tarlov cyst at S2, & the surgeon shrugged it off. I've been told that if drained, it will just fill up again. And, a lot of people have more problems if they try to operate. Co incidental? I wonder.

  • Thanks for the comments.

    I was told the MRI that coves the SI joint is a "special" type of MRI. There was a bit of confussion when I arrived to have the MRI done last Tuesday. The tech person that does the MRI told me my doc had ordered a MRI of my pelvis and this type of image does not include the SI joint so we did the spinal MRI that day. The tech person said that unless the doc ordered the "special MRI" for the SI joint you will only get the results of the MRI to the pelvis. At least this is what I think she was saying. I'm looking forward to reviewing the results of the SI joint this Wednesday. I will post an update once I have that information.

    PT helped some......but not that much. At least I didn't think it did much..... and after 12 sessions my doc has not said I should go back. However, after my doc reviewed the results of spinal MRI he is now referring me to a PM doc for injections because of L5-S1 findings,.....the worst (Left SI joint MRI results) is yet to come. The pain in my spine can range from annyoing to moderate, but the pain in my left SI joint can range from annoying to severe depending on how much I move that joint. Bending forward, and walking can really set it off. The more I do, the more pain I get. The pain I have from sitting comes for my spine (L5-S1). So, between the two areas of pain (spine & SI joint), ....it can be very painful.

    I guess it will be up to the PM doc, but I am all for injections in both areas if it will help.

  • I really can't wait to hear about your MRI of the SI joint. If there is a MRI like that, I know I want one! Has anyone taught you how to put your joint in place? Is it a posterior, or anterior problem? I have a anterior rotation, and I can put it in just about anywhere, sitting down, standing up, and laying down. Very simple, and it does take away the pain. Core exercises help to keep it in place. Are you doing any of those? Pelvic tilts really help. Also, if you have stairs, there is another easy way to put your joint in. Check with your Dr. or call you PT and ask. Very easy to do. Check out some web sites on the SI joints, and you can find some of these EZ ways to put one in place. It depends if you have a posterior or anterior rotation, how it is done. I would want you to check with your DR. first, and PT before you do anything, of course. Never do anything without checking first. I learned that the hard way! Keep me updated on your MRI, as I really would like to know about my SI joint! I hate injections, and I think that is the next move! And about the Tarlov cysts Rusty, I just really feel, anything butting a nerve could cause problems, but my neurologist just told me Thursday, "NO", not a problem!
  • Until last Tuesday, I've never had a MRI done before. Plenty of x-rays, and plenty of CT scans, but never an MRI. Those MRI machines make more noise than an airplane. I don't think my SI join is out of place. The joint radiates pain with movement. Additionally, there appears to be a small lump in the joint itself. The lump is tender to the touch but can be felt by touch. I've been told it could be a cyst, but there really is no way of knowing what is going on until the results of the MRI are completed.

    You should check with your doc, and the tech person that does your MRI about the the special SI joint MRI test that is available.

  • Thanks John, I will see what they say when I get mine MRI done this week. If they push on my SI joint it also hurts, and it does feel better if I walk. I think it keeps it moving. Please let me know how you make out! sweetpotatoe57
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    No one can really provide you with accurate readings of your MRI reports. That is something that should only be reviewed with your doctor. Folks here can just give you their personal opinions. One way I check out MRI results, is key words:
    Mild, Medium or Severe. Those terms apply to just about anything, so it does the same with MRI's.

    I might have missed something in your posts. With the number of MRI's you have had, what has been the recommendation of your doctor?

    Degeneration's Disc Disease still remains one of the most mis-understood spinal problem. All the words in DDD sound bad. But in reality, almost everyone by the time they reach 30 will show some signs of DDD. Its the natural aging of our spines. Some things will bring it on sooner and perhaps more advanced.
    - Trauma
    - Spinal Surgery
    - Genetics
    The best part, most DDD cases can be managed through approved exercise programs and NSAIDS.

    Spine-Health provides a lot of details regarding DDD


    Video on DDD:
    DDD Video
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Ron,

    Thank you for your post. Maybe you should read the post before making a response. Just my thoughts.
  • Hi John,

    My MRI is Thursday, and the Neurologist Friday, and then PM DR. on Monday. They will all see my MRI's. What should I ask for as far as the SI joint is concerned. Just another MRI, or does it have a certain name? MRI this week is just on the lumbar area where I had all my surgery. Thanks, sweetpotatoe57
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