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Just got MRI results...

BarbF01BBarbF01 Posts: 124
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi all,

So 1st post on this forum (so please tell me if Im not doing something right), but I had a MRI last week and just got the results. The nurse told me that from L-5 to S-1 I have disc "issues" and that I needed to see an ortho./spine specialist again. Back story: I was in a bad car accident in Dec of 2007. I ended up w/ 2 ruptured discs in my neck and have since had those 2 removed and a fusion done w/ screws and brackets. Ive also had right knee surgery (still all b/c of this car accident) and have bee in and out of PT for some time now. I recently returned back to my primary care Dr. b/c my lower body was continuing to ache and Ive also still had issues w/ mobility and pain. They decided that a newer MRI was in order, and thats the one I just got the results from.
I know, all too well, about the cervical spine - but lumbar spine issues are new to me... any advice on the appt. w/ my spine Doc?


  • Sorry your having problems with your lower spine now. I would just recommend writing down what symtoms you are having. What makes the pain worse or better? Is the pain constant? Do you feel burning, tingling or numbness? The more details the doctor has the better. They take your MRI results and your physical/oral eval to make their recommendation. I personally get a blank mind sometimes when I get around the "big guys". I have been dealing with this for many years so I'm finally getting better. I've had several lumbar surgeries which for me I wouldn't change, but really think about being conservative in your treatment. Depending on what is really going on there are a number of things that can be done to avoid surgery. Some people find PT helpful, steroid injections just to name a couple. Don't be affraid to get a second opinion I personally believe it's a smart thing to do. Not all surgeons think a like. Again I am sorry your dealing with more issues and I wish you the best trying to get it figured out.

  • Take a list of details of all your symptoms with you.
    Make a list of questions you have (You'll never remember them all)
    Do try all conservative methods that the surgeon offers to see if they will help you.
    If the surgeon says you need surgery, then it is probably what you should do. Lumbar fusion is worse than cervical fusion (I've heard - not experienced both) but you may just need a discectomy or other less invasive surgery.

    Welcome to Spine Health. :D

    You will find a wealth of information on here and also some friendly people who have been through the same or very similar problems to you.

    Do ask any questions you have. Someone is likely to have had experience with it and will share what they learnt. :-)
  • Welcome to Spine-Health. You'll find a lot of great information here with some great articles and videos and the members of the forum are wonderful, knowledgeable people. They also offer a wealth of support.

    I've had a 3-lvl ACDF (Oct. 08) and three months later started having lumbar issues, the worst being lower back pain and sciatica. I went back to my surgeon and we tried all the conservative measures we could, but nothing worked so I ended up with a lumbar TLIF in Jan of this year.

    Like Jelly said (as I've had both), my lumbar surgery was by far more painful and difficult than my ACDF. So trying conservative measures first would be recommended, if the doctor says there's a choice. If he only says surgery, I'd also recommend getting another opinion. It's always best to try anything you can before you decide to have lumbar surgery.

    I agree that making a list is important if you tend to draw a blank once you're facing the doctor. You can also go into the FAQ section where there's a few lists of things to ask your doctor before your first consult, what to ask if told you need surgery, etc. You might find that information valuable.

    Good luck with your consult and please keep us posted.
  • I keep reading about a procdure called ACDF..what is it? And what is a TLIF? Im sure Ive probably heard of these before, but Im not clear on the acronyms.

    Thank you to everyone who posted a response to my inquiry. I have an appt. set up with the Ortho guy (same one who did my cervical fusion) on July 13th, and then Im seeing the neuro. guy on Sept. 13th. Im hoping to have more answers with each visit. I also have a friend who has had surgery in about the same area as my herination is (L-5 and S-1), so Ive left a message for her to call me when she gets a moment.
    Thank you all, again! :)
  • An ACDF is an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. The surgeon goes in through the front of your neck and pushes everything aside to get to your cervical spine. Then he does his magic (fusion, drilling off any spurs, replacing the disc with some sort of material and then adds a plate with screws). Mine was a 3-lvl, C4-7.

    Look at this link for more info:

    A TLIF is a transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion. This is where they go in posteriorly to the spine and do their magic there. There's also an ALIF where they go in anteriorly, through the stomach. The major difference between a TLIF and ALIF I think is what they're going in to do. If it's disc related, then I think it's easier for the surgeon to do an ALIF. If the problem is stenosis, facet joints and/or spondylosis or spondylolisthesis, then it's easier for the surgeon to do an TLIF.

    Look at this link for more information:

    Don't hesitate to type in something at the top of the page to search for anything you're looking for spine-related on this site. I've given you links to your specific questions, but there are also videos and other articles that may pertain to your situation.

    Take care, Barb.
  • Ahhh..I know understand it all! Thank you Cath for being such a big help! :)
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