Hi all: I am a 64 year-old active male that has never had a spine problem before. 2 months ago I started having right side lower back pain which has increased to the point of being an 8 or 9. Pain is in the lower back, buttocks, hip and foot. I am now housebound with a gait disorder and pain whenever I move. The doctor ordered film and an MRI, which after studying it for a couple of days is pretty alarming. Does anyone have any advice on what approach I should take with the doctors? Right now I am only seeing a physiatrist. I am concerned that I will be wasting my time with conservative therapy that may only make me 50% better (who knows?). Also, I sense this condition might be serious. Thanks to all who who read this! Below are the MRI results:
FINDINGS: Plain films of the lumbar spine dated 1/2/2015 remarkable for L4-5 degenerative disc disease. Patient is unable to walk on right foot, rule out right L4 impingement. Degenerative disc disease extends from L1-L4 with disc desiccation .
There is minimal disc space loss at L4-5, with maintained height at the other levels. L5-S1 level is unremarkable. Alignment is preserved without fracture or subluxation. Conus contour and signal characteristics are normal, terminating at the T12-L1 level.
There are fatty vertebral body endplate changes subjacent to the L4-5 disc interspace. L1-L2 is patent. There is a generalized disc bulge at L2-3 and mild facet hypertrophy. There is no significant stenosis. At the L3-4 level, again seen is generalized disc bulge and posterior element hypertrophy. There is borderline central canal stenosis and mild bilateral neural foraminal encroachment
The patient's problems are centered at the L4-5 level where there is a right eccentric generalized disc extrusion with an extruded disc fragment which measures approximately 12 mm transverse by 6 mm AP and extends over a 18 mm craniocaudal length deforming the thecal sac and impinging upon the right L5 nerve root. In addition, there are hypertrophic changes of the facet joints and short pedicles. There is mild to moderate central canal stenosis and moderate to severe bilateral neural foraminal encroachment.
L5-S1 level is patent.
CONCLUSION: 12 mm transverse by 6 mm AP by 18 mm craniocaudal extruded disc fragment at the L4-5 level severely impinging upon the right L5 nerve root. This exam was performed at...