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Can you help me truly understand my lumbar MRI results?

Buddybob87BBuddybob87 Posts: 1
edited 12/15/2013 - 4:55 PM in New Member Introductions
Hello everybody!

I'm a 24 year old male, 6'2" and 195 pounds.

I need some help to fully undesrtand the results of an MRI and what you think my future will look like. I have suffered from back pain for about 6 years. It has always been strong but i was able to push through it for work. Unfortunately that work was mostly manual labor! Now the pain has gotten DRASTICALLY worse since a triple hernia surgery in May that forced me to walk while bent over at a 45 degree angle for about 3 weeks.

I tried chiropractors and physical therapists, and I did the stretches that they gave me to do. I finally have decent health insurance, so I decided the get this taken care of. My primary ordered an MRI which showed:

- Mild L3-4 and L4-5 as well as moderate L5-S1 degeneration.
- Chronic L3 and L4 endplate Schmorl's nodes and a right superior L5 endplate Schmorl's node with edema.
- L2-3 bilateral asymmetric left foraminal protrusions and mild foraminal osteophyte results in mild right and moderate left foraminal stenosis. The central canal is patent.
- L3-4 moderate broad-basedannulus bulge with extension into both neural foraina, asymmetric right foraminal osteophyte and congenitally short pedicles results in results in moderately severe canal stenosis with mild residual CSF surrounding the cauda equina nerve roots. There is also moderate bilateral lateral recess and moderate bilateral foraminal stenosis.
- L4-5 asymmetric right broad-based annulus bulge with extension into both neural foramina, foraminal osteophyte and congenitally short pedicles. Mild asymmetric right facet degeneration contributing to moderately severe canal, moderate left and severe right lateral recess stenosis with mild mass effect on the right L5 nerve roo. Both neural foramina are moderately narrowed. There is right paracentral annulus fissuring.
- L5-S1 annulus bulge with superimposed left lateral recess/ foraminal protrusion, facet degeneration and congenitally short pedicles results in mild-moderate canal, mild right and moderate left lateral recess stenosis. Disc contacts without clearly displacing the left S1 nerve root in the lateral recess. There is moderate left foraminal stenosis.

- L4-5 - Moderately severe canal, moderate left and severe right lateral recess stenosis with probable mass effect on the right L5 nerve root. Moderate bilateral foraminal stenosis.
- L3-4 - Moderately severe canal, moderate bilateral lateral recess and foraminal stenosis.
- L5-S1 - Mild-moderate canal, moderate left lateral recess and foraminal stenosis.

Phew! I'm sorry, I know that this is long and rambling, but I wanted to make sure and provide as much info as possible.

I have spoken to a neurosurgeon twice so far. He doesn't want to do any operations because I am still so young and anything he does would just add extra pressure to other discs. He sent me to a pain managament doctor and we started with a bilateral epidural steroid injection (not sure which disc), and I have a left side facet joint injection scheduled for September 10th (again, I'm not sure which level. The pain management doctor is a horrible communicator). He has give me Baclofen and Tizanidine to help with muscle spasms. He hasn't started prescribing pain meds yet because he doesn't do that until he has a chance to build a relationship with his patients. However, the pain does get so severe that I become nauseous and even vomit occasionally. I work full time but it is getting incredibly hard to keep going at work despite the fact that it's mostly a desk job (I lease apartments and have to tour apartments with prospective residents).

My main questions are:
-How severe is this, from what you can decipher from the MRI results?
- How do you see this affecting my quality of life from here on out? As of right now, I'm just plain miserable. I have a fantastic, supportive wife and family, but I am still struggling mentally with non-stop pain, lack of sleep, depression, and anxiety.

Any help, advice, info, etc. that you can offer would be GREATLY appreciated! Thank you for listening to my whiny rant!

Post edited by the Spine Health Moderation Team
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  • lulusheartllulusheart Posts: 4,273
    edited 08/24/2012 - 3:05 PM
    hi and welcome to the forum! we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i am sorry we cannot read MRI results as that is best left to your doctor..in the meantime, it might help you to find a doctor you can communicate with. it is so important to have someone you feel free to speak with and who wants to speak with you. you have come to a great place to make new friends and find spineys who understand what you are going through. we even whine ourselves!! LOL!! perhaps it is time to look into disability as it sounds as if working is not helping you at all. talk to your doctor about that!! get what rest you can!! read the forum and you will get some idea as to what our lives are like.. there is alot of good information on site!! good luck as you seek pain relief. be sure and stop by "Matters of the Heart" for more input!! Jenny
  • charryccharry Posts: 5,657
    edited 08/24/2012 - 3:48 PM
    I agree you need to see a Dr. who can communicate everything effectively with you. Maybe a second or so opinion from another Ortho or Neurosurgeon about your report. I hope your back heals but anything severe will have to be watched. Try not to bend from the waist to save your back. It's great your wife is supportive at this time it helps. 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
  • Hi, I too have - L4-5 asymmetric right broad-based annulus bulge with extension into both neural foramina, or disc bulge with annular tear, a synovial cyst which causes continual movement and instability, Foraminal stenosis (narrowing of the foraminas) which are the bones you can actually feel when touching the spine. I have several different problems from mild to severe and I know it's not as comforting when you want answers and all you get is a, "sorry I can't read an MRI". I know people can give the meanings of what things are, and what their experience has been, what their problem was and what treatment they had, however the people on here aren't doctors and can't diagnose or tell you what exactly will happen to you. however, they can give their experiences. I am currently waiting to see a surgeon to find out what his recommendations will be for me. In the mean time, I do a lot of research on the web to find out what certain things are, what the treatment is for it, etc. I hope all worked out for you or that it is at least better and may God Bless us all with good or better health.
    Susan Haynes
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