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Need some help with MRI report

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in New Member Introductions
Hello...I am very thankful I have found this site. My son is in the Navy and has been going thru back pain for the last year. Here's what his MRI says:

Degenerative disc disease at L5-S1 with a posterior radial annular tear. There is perhaps a subtle left posterolateral disc herniation.

There is a posterior radial annular tear suggested at L5-S1 and perhaps at L4-L5 and L3-L4. There is straightening of the lumbar lordosis.

Disc herniation at particularly T6-T7. Subtle central disc herniation at T7-T8.

After going thru the shots, the Graston technique, pain management..he finally got to see the main surgeon today and he told him he couldn't do anything and is referring him to a Physiologist. What the heck does that mean??? Does this mean that he's not fixable???

Any help would be greatly apppreciated!!!


  • I am not a medical professional so I can really only give you my opinion. I have multiple anular tears and they are extremely painful. I would strongly encourage your son to seek a second opinion to see if anything can be done. If surgery is not an option there may be other options for your son. He just has to find a doctor that is able and willing to help him. It is not at all unusual to have to go to multiple doctors in order to get some help and relief. Good luck and please keep us posted.
  • What age is your son? The surgeon may feel that he is too young to have surgery. I think he is probably referring him to a physiatrist which is a medical doctor that specializes in pain management and rehabilitation. The specialty is very good at diagnosing problems and find a way to deal with them employing all methods excluding surgery.

    There are many good articles on this website where you can learn more about the terms that are mentioned in the report. You might want to start here:


    and then read about disc herniation here:
    http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/herniated-disc/whats-a-herniated-disc-pinched-nerve-bulging-disc and http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/herniated-disc.

    Nothing you copied from the report indicates he is not "fixable." It may be a matter of his age. We often have young people on the board reporting they are not a candidate for surgery -- which usually means "at this time." As J.J. Grey suggested, it may be a matter of continuing to look for someone who can help him. Or the physiatrist may be able to help. It is always wise to try every other possible option before having surgery.

    I hope your son finds some relief to his pain soon. You are a good mom to post for your son.

    Again, welcome.
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i am so glad your son has you behind him. i want to thank him for his service.. =D> i am here to welcome you and know the doctor is the best person to help you with your MRI. :-C good luck and keep us informed! :D Jenny :)
  • Thank you for your replys...My son is 27 and currently in the military health system, I don't think they allow them to get second opinions. He must follow all of their medical orders.
  • OK, hopefully the physiatrist can help him. They do have many tricks in their bag and offer many more solutions than only thinking of surgery. I went to one for awhile and liked her very much. Some of them specialize in a particular thing, like ortho or stroke or MS, etc.

    I hope things will go well for him and he will find the help he needs. Please thank your son for his service.

    xx Gwennie
  • Thank you Gwennie....I just now realized I spelled the type of doctor incorrectly..but after reading what the physiatrist can do...I now have renewed hope.
  • People often get this medical specialty confused with physical therapy or something like that. This is a good definition of the specialty:


    It is often a good place to start when having trouble getting an accurate diagnosis.
  • I am new here also, I just want to say, I recentley went to a pain doctorand he would not treat me untill I went to a Physiatrist first, I believe the doc. wanted to find out if my pain was real or if I was just depressed, I know a doctor did this to my son one time,he had a disease that was not real common back then, he went thru alot of pain before they finally diagnoised him with Crohns diseaseanyway back to me, the Physiatrist told the pain doc, he had no problem with him giveing me a high powered pain med.I don't know if this helps you or notDoctors are hard to figure out somtimes.Your son is lucky to have you. I know alot of the health care workers thought I was over bearing because I went with my son to all the doc's he went to, but I knew my son would not speak up for himself and me and his dad were all he had, you just hang in there no matter what, Good luck and God Bless
  • Thanks Gwennie for the link!!
    Thanks Scatterbrain...We haven't had one person in our family with back problems...so I had no idea on where to start..I only know I felt like he was being passed along in the system...each time hoping this was the time they were really going to help him. I do wish I lived near him so I could go with him...but I doubt the military would even let me do that. We are now at over a year when he first started requesting to see a doctor...now I am again hoping the Physiatrist is the answer!!
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