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MRI results, Help

galaxianggalaxian Posts: 11
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:00 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi just after some advice, I had an MRI scan of my lower back, had call from doc but didn't really understand what he was saying about my MRI results so he sent me a copy of MRI but i'm still non the wiser, is there anyone on here that could just explain the results to me in simple terms, would be very gratefull of any advice, here goes with what the MRI says.

Degenerative changes from L3 to S1 with loss of disc height and circumferential disc bulges, at L4-L5 there is also significant facet joint hypertrophy a broad-based right posterolateral disc bulge at this level causes lateral recess stenosis which is in direct contact with the crossing right L5 nerve root, there is narrowing of the L4 exit foramen.

Sorry its a bit long,Thanks for any advice given :)


  • Hi!

    I can't really explain it to you, because it's a lot of medical lingo that I don't get, but you can tell by my signature that I have a lot of the same stuff going on :)

    It sounds like you have degenerative disc disease, which in plain english means your discs are wearing thin. All the other stuff sounds like you may have some nerves that are being affected. OUCH! I know all too well how you feel.

    I can tell you that I just had my first round of injections last week and I feel like a new woman! You were probably told that you are not a good candidate for surgery, as I was, because they don't like to fuse that many together, so your best bet is to get yourself to a pain management specialist and start on a path to having less pain. I have had to come to grips with the fact that my condition is not going anywhere, but my new pain doc is SO amazing that I now know that I CAN live with it. Best of luck!!!
  • JLambz thanks for taking a look at it for me,wish the doc's would just say this is what is wrong in simple terms and say this is what we can or cannot do, all i've had is three sessions of physio which was just print out sheets of excersises off the internet to do at home, this is all the NHS will allow me to have,I'm having huge issues with pains in my groin and leg weakness,i'm trying to keep going but the pains now begining to wear me down. Thanks again for the advice and i'm really glad you feel so much better. :)
  • some advice...MRI's and doctor lingo are a lot to digest. Especially if you are hurting and looking for the simple answer to "how do we fix this?"

    1 - can you schedule time to review with him? This way you can ask some questions about the report.

    2 - was it a General practioner or specialist that ordered it and spoke to you? If it was a GP, can you ask the GP if there is a specialist that you can make an appointment with to learn more about your back and start to build a 'relationship' with in the event it gets worse and even if it doesn't get worse, sometimes it's good to get a physio/PT recommendation from a specialist. Granted, the time to get in with an NS or orthospine doctor is typically long.

    3 - if your doctor that ordered the MRI says "no need to come in", they are probably doing it b/c they don't want to waste your money (especially these days where costs are so high). I would ask to set up a 10 min conversation.
    But first, make sure you have a copy of the image and MRI Radiology report so you can think about what questions you have.

  • DNice, Thanks for the advice, it was my GP that sent me for the MRI he also sent me to see what he called a back specialist which turned out to be physio which I was only able to have 3 X 10 min visits on the NHS,they basically told me thats as far as the treatment goes,any probs go back to GP which I did and I was given more tablets and told to keep moving, I work in a secondary school in 2 different departments and am on my feet all day I do about 15,000 steps a day and thats just at work,but I am finding it difficult to keep going due to the groin pain, just feel like i'm not being helped and I very rarely visit the GP, I'm under another specialist on NHS for a part torn achillies and tendonitis, thats another story,they have been fantastic, it's almost like NHS think it's only back pain let them get on with it, wish I could afford to go private.

    Thanks again :)
  • sounds like you need to ask your doctor to send you to a specialist.Maybe your not operable,but you can get there opinion and they may have more ideas then just a few sessions of therapy that you could try. You need more physio then what you had ,they should be working on your back,if you have disc bulges then they should be trying to get them back into place and reduce the bulge so that your not in so much pain,.also has the physio read over your mri report because they should be able to tell you in detail whats happening with your spine.I always had my mri's sent to my therapist and he went over every part of it with me until i understood what was happening with my spine.Just from reading your report i can see that your problems are caused by aging,that happens with everyone and some people it causes problems and pain and with others they don't even know its happening.The stenosis at your L4-5 level is narrowing and its bothering a nerve that is why your leg is being bothered. You should really call your doctor back and ask to speak with him and go over your mri, if he tells you that there isn't a problem there then just tell him that you researched some of the terms and was just wondering what could be done about the narrowing because its really bothering your leg. Tell him that you don't want to end up with nerve damage that could leave you with long term pain.If your doctor doesn't want to help you then you need to find another doctor who will. Advocate for yourself! Don't put up with a doctor who doesn't seem interested in your well being.
  • Thanks tammyc for your advice, I went back to doctors today because I had an incident in supermarket today , I turned to put item in my trolley and out of the blue I felt like someone had stabbed me in my groin then my leg gave way and I was on the floor I managed to get back up, It actually hurt that much it took my breath away and I thought I was going to pass out I never cry but I was in tears, GP just gave me stronger pain killers and muscle relaxant tablets.
    Dont know what to do next :(
  • It sounds like your GP is good and starting conservative. However, considering you ended up back with him, perhaps ask if he can recommend an Orthopedic Spine doctor or Neurosurgeon. It isn't that you are seeking surgery (trust me, surgery on the back is a quick fix) but that these specialists can explain a bit more and then you have a 'baseline' on record in case you get worse.

    Also, they may be able to offer alternative suggestions like anti-inflammatory if there's inflammation or injections.

    Sounds like the physio wasn't the same as what I'm experiencing. I just started with a physio and he said that he works with all my doctors for a holistic 'treatment'.
  • Thanks again, I will defo go back to GP in a week or so as I know if I go back to soon he'll just tell me I haven't given the tablets time to work, I'm only 42 and apart from yrs of on and off back pain and achillies probs (which I think is connected to my back prob)I am in good shape, I need to try and be a bit more positive about my back as I dont want it to take over my life,I worry about my work in a school as my groin pain is often at its worse while there, its not the ideal place to start collapsing to the floor.
    Thanks again for all the advice :)
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