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MRI Lumbar Spine results - Need Advice Please


My name is Jennifer. I have been a nurse for 2 years and love my job. Recently ive had back pain to the point where i cant move properly. I had to insist on an MRI because my doctor kept saying it was muscular which in the end it wasnt. I finally got an MRI and the conclusion was as follows.

Conlusion: Minor non compressive disc bulge at L5-S1 level. Mild bilateral L5-S1 and L4-5 facet osteoarthropathy.

My doctor pretty much told me to quit the job i love because he said if i kept practicing i would be pretty much crippled in 5 years. Is this right to say? Do you believe there is a treatment option out the (Preferably non-surgical) that could fix/help the problem so i can continue my career?

Thank you so much for any advice.

Kind Regards,



  • It wouldn't hurt to get a second opinion, especially if you have only seen your family doctor so far. Ask for a referral to a specialist. If you are making career decisions, you want to make them based on expert advice. I hope you don't have to quit your job. Sometimes two different doctors will have very different opinions about the same issue.
  • So, in saying that we're not allowed to interpret your MRI results, what I WILL say is that you should seriously get a second opinion. I understand the report perfectly well and let me just say if your doctor thinks you're going to be out of work in 5 years because of the results then, despite me not being a doctor, I can confidently tell you that from that report alone he is way, WAY off.

    For you I definitely believe that conservative treatments will work. You are NO WHERE near being "crippled". See a physio and request a few core strengthening exercises and stretches and go on a few walks or swims two or three times a week. You've caught your extremely mild problem early and the best thing you can do right now is to take initiative so you can walk back into your doctor's practice and laugh at his face.

    Your problem may, indeed, be a muscle problem. Maybe some deep tissue massage and NSAID topical creams will help.
  • I agree that getting a second opinion from a spine specialist would be in your best interest. I would ask your Dr for a referral. They can better interpret the results and offer referrals for non surgical treatment.
    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
  • Thanks so much everyone! Its great to hear some positive feedback.
    You are all very kind.

    Kind Regards

  • MSGMSG Posts: 296
    edited 04/02/2014 - 9:41 AM
    That there seem to be quite a few nurses with back issues. I imagine they stem from having lift patients from gurneys to beds, off the floor when they fall, etc. It's really the pits that nurses who do the job because they really care & want to help patients, often end up becoming a patient themselves. I hope you feel better soon!
    We can't always control the cards we are dealt in life, but we can control how we play the hand
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