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MRI....can anybody relate?

mikem14mmikem14 Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:51 AM in Lower Back Pain
Let me start this by saying....back pain just sucks. Can we all agree that unless you have it, you don't understand it. Mentally and physically...this sucks. Ok, my story-August 12, 2010...golfing, 5th hole teeing off. POP...all done for the day, on my back for 3 days and didn't realize my future would be unknown.....forever? I don't know. I got a CT scan a couple weeks after that, showed a slight disc herniation L5-S1 impinging on left nerve root. 6 months later having done physical therapy, i still have a stiff, weak feeling, "something is not right" back. I still get some numbing in my left big toe and slight pain down my hamstring. So I just had an MRI. Results came in the mail today. I realize this is not a site of doctors and I am not relying on someone here diagnosing the results, I just want to know if anyone has had a similar MRI reading and what they are dealing with.....are you back to normal? can you do the same activities? I am a 32 year old male. Used to be an avid golfer, hockey player...besides my family, those are my other loves in life. used to be my stress relief..

so here's the MRI:
The conus medullaris terminates at the l1-l2 level. The vertebral bodies are maintained in height and signal L1 to L4. There is minimal bulging of the L4-L5 disc. Mild hypertrophic degenerative changes in the facet joints at the L4-L5 level. The L5-S1 disc is slightly decreased in height and T2 signal. Mild left lateral protrusion of the disc, abutting left L5 nerve root. Hypertrophic degenerative changes in the facet joints at this level, more prominent on the left.
Discogenic degenerative changes at L5-S1 level, left lateral protrusion L5-S1.

I'm a pretty tough guy, but this has drastically changed my life style, thus changing "who I am". I haven't been able to play in my hockey leagues, go on am annual golf trip already. Sounds like a sob story but its deeper...I haven't seen many friends that I used to do all these activities with and feel like I am a bum because my next move is going to sap my back leaving me to battle with my back for another year.

Eh, guess I'm venting-but this just sucks.


  • I am fused L1 to L5 and just had an MRI that showed L5 sliding forward progressively. I am in a lot of pain. I am trying a cortisone injection but they have never worked well for me. Of course the option of another fusion is hanging over me. Is anyone fused L1 to S1 and how much range of motion will I lose. I don't have a lot now but don't know if the additional fusion will make it even less. I am very flexible in my hips (lots of work to get there).


    Spinal stenosis, spondolysis, spondolythesis, L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion with instrumentation and bone graft from hip, PT, accupuncture, prolotherapy, many cortisone injections, 4 rhizotomies
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • It does SUCK!
    Maybe I can be of some help since some of my MRI results are similar to yours.
    I have L5 S1 herniated and an annular tear, also have bulging and perturding L1 to L4. I have not had pain in my legs. My nerves are not effected by mine.
    I am sorry to say we will never be the same, I used to be a very active person,biking, hiking, boating, running etc.. now I can't do anything.
    The only way to find something to help you manage the pain is to try the treaatments. If your nerves are compressed the injections may help.
    I have been through:

    1. Two nerve tests
    2. Two MRI's
    3. Chiropractic care
    4. Physical therapy
    5. 3 epidural injections

    I facing fushion surgery after I have a discgram and ct scan.

    Tried Lidoderm back patches,Tramadol, Naproxen, Prednisone, Orphenadrine, Nucynta, Oxycodone, Cyclobenzaprine, Ibuprofen.

    I don't mean to depress you but this has been my experience.

    keep us posted on how you do.

  • I used to run marathons, was never a golfer but known to hack a round or two, used to be an avid fisherman, took up gardening to provide stress relief and now that's even on hold.
    I have two crushed discs L4/L5, L5/S1, bulging discs c4/c5, c6/c7 and ruptured disc c5/c6. My life the last few years has been consumed by Drs. I actually had so many appointments in one week I got my ortho confused with my rheumatologist.
    There are many effective treatments depending on what you are diagnosed with. On top of the disc problems I have degenerative disc disease and inflammatory arthritis. But one thing I won't say is I am DDD and arthritis, in otherwords I won't let my condition define me. The chronic pain has changed me and the friends I hang out with.
    I have met deeper friends going through some of the same problems, and some amazing medical staff who truly want to help.
    Best of luck as you go through your journey, may your stay in chronic pain be short and may you find an answer that gets you back to the links.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,877
    similar conditions to yours. Based on your MRI image and reports what action plan has your doctor indicated for you?

    There are so many different types of conservative treatments that you can exhaust before considering surgery.

    However, there are situations , where holding off surgery is not really an option. That is something that only your doctor can tell you.

    As far as being normal again. So much of that is how you look at yourself and what you did and now what can you do.

    I started with spinal problems and surgeries over 30 years ago and I am still going strong. Well, surely not as strong as before. But I've adjusted, I've adapted to what I can do and can not do. Yes, there could be sacrifices along the way, but I've always spent more time in figuring out what I can still do.

    Thats important.
    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
  • I can see I will struggle with this. I always told my wife I would play hockey until I got too old that a team wouldn't let me play. I always looked forward to one day having a son, building a rink in my backyard and teaching him how to play. I was given that chance this year-I have an 8 month old son.....all I can think know is I won't be able to do any of the things I always wanted to do with him. I feel like I sound like such a downer, but in reality I am just typing what the reality of my situation is. This sucks. I don't understand with the amazing medical technology we have how herniated discs can't be treated like a rotator cuff or something to get us back to life. We send people into space! Again, I am just pissed. Thanks for being the sounding board spine-health, cause lord knows my wife is sick of hearing about my aching back!
  • I know exactly that feeling of getting upset after realizing what has happened to your life.

    You never know, an injection might just be what you need, it may relieve your pain so you can teach your son how to play hockey.

    Don't give up! Try all that is available to you.

    People that I know that have back pain is due to the nerves being pinched and the injections gave them relief for 3 years before they needed another one.

    Maybe this will work for you too.

    Are you under the care of a pain management doctor yet?
  • Yes it does suck. I just had a cortisone injection today to see if that helps before the decision is made to fuse L5/S1. It was rather an ordeal as I have a lot of scar tissue from the L1-L5 fusion plus the hardware and a bone spur. The pain management doc had to keep getting bigger and bigger needles! She said it was like going thru rubber cement. I have never had a lot of success with cortisone but am willing to try again.Time will tell. Like a lot of you I was very active before. I actually qualified for the Ironman World Championships in 99 and was 2nd in my age group. To say my life has changed is an understatement but I can still swim and ride so I am grateful for that. I miss the running the most. }:) }:) }:) I know these are supposed to be devils but to me they look like pink cats. Pink is my favorite color and my 5 cats altho annoying at times have always been there for me and keep me going.

    Spinal stenosis, spondolysis, spondolythesis, L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion with instrumentation and bone graft from hip, PT, accupuncture, prolotherapy, many cortisone injections, 4 rhizotomies
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
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