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confused about my lumbar spine x-ray...

Brent R.BBrent R. Posts: 2
edited 12/11/2014 - 5:13 PM in Lower Back Pain
i am going for an MRI in 3 weeks in hopes of getting a better answer here...
but in the meantime...here's the problem - I don't have a family doctor & am still desperately seeking one out - so for now, i have to deal with the local Walk-In.
I've had some bad back pain in the lumbar region since taking a fall in the summer. it's on the right side of the spine, deep in the L5 region...the muscles in my middle spin get all "knotty" (best way i can describe) it, too. when doing every day things such as vacuuming or sweeping.
anyway. had an X-Ray & this is what came back...

"there is no indication of fracture of subluxation of the vertebrae. There is a suggestion of a defect in the pars interarticularis of the L5 vertebrae. Oblique views are recommended for confirmation. There is no degenerative disc disease or joint disease"

now here's the confusion for me. the walk-in doc just shrugged off the pars defect part as, "you're basically born with it. it's a common abnormality" - but still couldn't answer why i was having the pain i was & why it was difficult for me to do certain things (the "knotty" thing). I actually had to go back twice just to get the MRI set up! anyway, i went home that night and looked up "defect in the pars..." and it comes up as spondylolysis, which is as most of you know, a "stress fracture" - commonly of the lumbar vertebrae...
so. how come the x-ray came back clear of fracture yet then uses a fancy string of words to suggest i have a fracture? i'm confused.
...and reading more up on things. was an MRI the wise choice vs CT? CT is more for bone-related things, whereas MRI is muscle, right?
excuse my ignorance.
basically i have to start going back to work. or i'll be out on the street (literally). if i won't mess up my back for life & don't care i can deal with the pain.......money is unfortunately most important right now. unless i want to end up in a shelter.



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The questions you are asking can should be discussed with your doctdor

--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 12/11/14 23:12



  • Okay. I get it.
    So then, let me ask this general question : what's the difference between a fracture and "a defect in the pars interarticularis of the L5 vertebrae"? - just out of curiosity's sake. if anyone has any experience with either or both and can chime in. not asking for medical advice (as stated, going for an MRI). not asking you to diagnose me (going for an MRI).

  • sandisandi Posts: 6,342
    edited 12/12/2014 - 6:29 AM
    under conditions, found at the top of the page, as well as a glossary found in the Frequently asked questions area of Spine Health.
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