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NEW here..have results of my MRI

Jan4YouJJan4You Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Spinal Stenosis
Hello I am new and this is my first post.

Tomorrow I get the results of my MRI with the Ortho/sports medicine guy. I came to see him few weeks back after the tendon on my hip popped..and started PT. But the therapist kept saying she thinks my problem is more involved and maybe the MRI he ordered should be considered by me now.
(didn't want the copay cost). Its been a rough year with many medical evals.

I picked up the written MRI report: bilateral hips..bone spurs..mild arthritic.

LUMBAR results:
1) moderate/promoninent central stenosis L4-5
2) Foraminal encroachment..moderate/prominent degree on L4-5
3) Disk disease and fact arthropathy
4. Grade I spondyloishesis on L4-5

I have PT before the MD. I have more electric-shock-like nerve pain in legs. My thigh/calves are tight and achy. I cannot sit..stand or lay flat for long periods. I have had tTingling/numbness..tremors in legs. They thought I had MS for years..if it weren't for my HIP problem.. I would not had an MRI of lumber.

Any ideas of what I am headed for?

Thanks Jan


  • You realize that none of us on the board have medical training or are qualified to interpret an MRI...however, I can give you some general comments, patient to patient, as your problems are similar to mine.

    I don't know specifically what types of hip problems you are having, but I feel safe in saying that at least some of your problems are related to spinal nerve compression.

    The MRI indicates at least three issues that are causing nerve compression. The spinal nerves exit the spine and carry both sensual and motor sensations to specific areas in the spine. Your report indicates that there is narrowing in the central canal and also in the foramina (these are openings that are supposed to be clear so there is space for the nerves to pass through unencumbered. Your report indicates there is encroachment at the L4-5 level. This may be some bony growth )think of the way an old pipe looks when it has built-up mineral deposits, rust, etc. Eventually the "gunk" becomes so bad that water cannot flow freely through the pipe. When gunk builds up in the foramen, the nerve cannot pass freely. It can become compressed or pinched off, and this results in the leg pain people often call sciatic pain.

    The L4-5 spinal nerve runs in a predictable pattern from the lower back, across the buttock, to the side of what feels like "hip" area, and then kind of crosses the front of the thigh. It can run down the calf and foot and affect the big toe. This is the route it takes, more or less, in the majority of people, but, not everyone. There can be variations of course! Many times people think they have hip pain when in reality it is a problem caused by either L4-5 or L5-S1 level issues.

    So, you have stenosis at this level, which just means a narrowing.

    Then there is the issue of spondylolisthesis, which is a slippage of the L4 vertebra over the top of the L5 vertebra. Depending on whether there is movement in this area, it can also result in nerve compression, usually of the L5 nerve root. This condition, in and of itself, can cause what feels like hip pain, or pain when walking or standing...sometimes pain when sitting. It can result in numbness in the leg or foot...and any or all sensations typical of "nerve pain."

    Facet arthropathy is like a spinal arthritis which goes hand in hand with "disc disease."

    You can read all about each of these problems on this website. There are a variety of articles, videos, etc. to help you understand the terminology, anatomy of the spine, various procedures that can be done to treat these conditions, etc.

    If you are in a great deal of pain that is not responding to conservative treatment, I would suggest you switch doctors. You should look for a fellowship-trained spinal specialist rather than going to a general orthopedist who specializes in sports medicine. The spinal specialist can be either an orthopedic spinal surgeon or a neurosurgeon. The fellowship indicates the highest level of training that is available in the specialty of the spine. (no ankles, hips, shoulders, etc....). You will want this level of specialization with the various issues you have going on to ensure you are getting the very best treatment possible!!

    Hope my comments help and do not alarm you. Most of us have a number of conditions going on and everything is treatable, so try not to worry. I would suggest you learn as much as you can about your issues so you can converse with your doctors in a meaningful way and so you can participate in decisions regarding treatment. You might want to start here:


    Good luck.

  • HI Gwennie and thanks for responding. And I appreciate the disclosure knowing you and others are NOT to give medical advice..just wanted to give the lingo from the MRI to be helpful.

    YES I know all about sciatica and it affecting the HIP. Had chiropratic treament for many many years (nearly 20 years of sciatic pain) and never had a twinge afterwards even with the bulging discs. Often I would say my hip hurt and he would point out that its sublaxation. So yes I know what you are trying to say to me about the relationship.

    However..I DID hurt my hip..popped the tendon off which thank goodness..lead me to break down and see this Orthopedic guy who wanted to MRI my lumbar and I refused at first.

    I also have Gitleman's kidney disease which is the kidneys wasting electrolytes mostly potassium..resulting in weak..painful..muscle problems..sometimes suddenly..it goes limp. Hard to know which is which sometimes.

    So..again thanks for helping.. it means a lot.


  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. can't help you with your report but it won't be long before you see your doctor now.. he is the best person to give you the results anyway!! =D> if you don't like his game plan, move on to another doctor. find a doctor you like!!! :D good luck and don't give up until you are satisfied with the answers to your questions and your doctor.. :D Jenny :)
  • I didn't know what your level of information was...whether you were just beginning with the spinal problems, etc.

    What did you learn at your appointment today? Do you have a clear plan for treatment at this point?

    Please let us know how you are doing.

  • Thanks for asking about my appt. How very sweet of you!!

    Well he is referring me to his partner for Cortisone shots as I have a very LARGE extruded disc with slight stenosis.
    He did not even mention my hip which is what brought me to him in first place. And no I have had a bad lower back for many years for about 15 years..bulging discs l-4 l-5 and I fell on my butt down a flight of stairs landing on each one. and could not walk. so yes sciatic pain left me nearly in capcitated and disabled. TILL.. I went to this amazing chiro who with just a finger uses the B.E.S.T technique and got the electrical energy from the brain down the nerve pathways to move..literally improve my bulging disc.I had never had even a twinge since..till I popped the tendon on my hip just before Thanksgiving.

    So I do not have sciatic pain now..more nerve..tingling..numbness..weakness..with muscles that are so stiff and tight. I also have that potassium problem that deflates my muscles and makes them weak.

    But here's my concern: Cortisone injections could affect my "other" problem with uncontrolled heart rate/blood pressure. I remember nearly having a shot for my shoulder when this ortho doc said he could not due it cause of my bp issues and that cortisone would only make it worse.

    So.. thats my concern. AND all the other side effects.

    Have you ever had the shots????

    Thanks again... Jan
  • I would go to your Primary Dr. and get a stress test and talk to the Cardiologist before the cortisone injections but that's my opinion and not a Medical Dr. I had short term blood pressure issues that lasted only 5 weeks on a blood pressure pill but now I'm back to normal again not taking any pills. I received 5 injections in a 6 month period and 3 of those were depo-medrol steroid which is very controversial for back injections. I did have relief from the injections though and also taking Cymbalta for the nerve pain. Best wishes for you and hope you get some pain relief soon. 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
  • what is a platinum infrared heating pad and where can you get them I live on heating pads and the like Thanks shirlann
  • My Pain Management Dr. gave me a prescription for an infrared platinum heating pad as it penetrates 2-1/2" into your muscles and he told me it helps with pain from an annular tear and muscle pain.

    It can't burn you on a low setting and has a two straps and bends to fit your leg or arm or back. A regular heating pad can only penetrate 1/2" under your skin and not as effective as a infrared platinum heating pad.

    I got it from a Pharmacy in Markham, Ontario, Canada from a drugstore and didn't have to pay tax on it because it was a prescription. It was $175. and I bought it almost 3 years ago and wear it everyday while sitting. It also helps my sciatica leg pain. It can be bought online also. I know it's okay to use with hardware but if you have a implanted stimulator I would ask the Dr. first if you should use it. Many Physiotherapists use a larger version of this pad.

    It doesn't dehydrate you like other heating pads but if you can't afford it moist heat may be helpful. But you need to be careful to guard against burns especially if you have numb spots. I burned myself with a hot water bottle and didn't notice it until I went for Massage Therapy but it wasn't a bad burn thankfully. The Infrared heating pad was a good investment for me and help lower my pain levels.

    I hope you get the support you need here at spine health. IT's a great support site when you need it. Take care. 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
  • Do you put the heating pad on your Leg or Back? My Legs Hurt, Back is Stiff. But the Pain is Caused by the Nerves in the back so I never know where to use heating pads!
    Thanks for sharing the info!
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