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MRI reading

edited 02/21/2015 - 4:42 PM in Lower Back Pain
hi I have been having back and leg pain since I was 7 years old ( was diagnosed with growing pains 5 times) , I recently had my first MRI because the pain has become unbearable. I had to quit my job and cannot stand for longer than 2 or 3 minutes before I have to either bend forward or sit down. My doctor has referred me to a spinal surgeon but my appointment is still 2 weeks out. can someone shed some light on what my MRI means ?


TECHNIQUE: Standard MRI of the lumbar spine is performed with spine coil. Sagittal, coronal, and axial short TR/TE, fast spin echo, and inversion recovery sequences are performed.

FINDING(S): There is normal sagittal alignment. There is normal coronal alignment. There appears to be narrowing of the anteroposterior diameter of the canal from L3-L4 due to shortened pedicles.

The conus ends posterior to L1. There is heterogeneous marrow signal without evidence of marrow replacement or fracture. Disc desiccation is present from L3-L4 through L5-S1 without significant loss of disc height.

Hemangiomas are suggested within multiple vertebral bodies including L2 and S2. The paravertebral soft tissues show no separate significant abnormality. The SI joints are symmetric. The sacral marrow signal is normal.

Specific discogenic degenerative changes are outlined as follows:

L1-L2: Negative.

L2-L3: Negative.

L3-L4: There is a small disc bulge which combines with shortened pedicles to result in mild central canal stenosis. There is mild foraminal stenosis. No facet arthrosis.

L4-L5: There is a small to moderate broad-based disc bulge extending mainly towards the left foraminal zone. This combines with shortened pedicles to result in mild to moderate central canal stenosis, moderate left-sided foraminal stenosis touching the
exiting left L4 nerve root and mild right-sided foraminal stenosis. No facet arthrosis.

L5-S1: There is a small central and right paracentral disc bulge which extends into both foraminal zones. This results in moderate right and mild left neural foraminal stenosis. There is no facet arthrosis.


1. Congenital narrowing of the central canal from L3-L4 due to shortened pedicles.
2. Mild to moderate central canal stenosis, moderate left-sided foraminal stenosis, and mild right-sided foraminal stenosis at L4-L5 due to a combination of disc bulge and congenital narrowing of the canal.
3. Mild central canal and bilateral foraminal stenosis at L3-L4 due to similar factors as described at L4-L5.
4. Moderate right L5-S1 neural foraminal stenosis from disc bulging.

Welcome to Spine-Health

It would be very helpful if you could provide us with more details. So many times we read about members who have different tests and they all come back negative. Isolating spinal problems can almost be like the game of Clue. The more clues and information you provide, the better chances in finding out what is wrong,
Here are some questions that you should answer:

  • - When did this first start?
    - Was it the result of an accident or trauma?
    - What doctors have you seen? (Orthopedic, Neurosurgeon, Spine Specialist, etc)
    - What Conservative treatments have you had? Which ones?
    - What diagnostic tests have you had? And their results (MRI, CTScan, XRay, EMG, etc)
    - What medications are you currently using? (details, dosage, frequency, etc)
    - Has surgery been discussed as an option? (If so, what kind)
    - Is there any nerve pain/damage associated?
    - What is your doctor’s action plan for treating you?

Providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
of your situation and make it easier to respond.

Please take a look at our forum rules: Forum Rules

Please remember that no one at Spine-Health is a formally trained medical professional.
Everything that is posted here is based on personal experiences and perhaps additional research.
As such, no member is permitted to provide

  • - Analysis or interpretation of any diagnostic test (ie MRI, CTscan, Xray, etc)
    - Medical advice of any kind
    - Recommendations in terms of Medications, Treatments, Exercises, etc

What could be good for someone could spell disaster for another.
You should also consult your doctor to better understand your condition and the do’s and don’t’s.

It is very important that new members (or even seasoned members) provide others with details about their condition(s). It is virtually impossible to help another member when all the details we have are

I’ve had this for years, it hurts, I cant move my shoulder – what could this be, what treatment should I get?

Diagnosing spinal problems can be very difficult. In many ways its like a game of clue. Especially, when the diagnostic tests come back negative – no trouble found! Then its up to the patient and the doctor to start digging deeper. The doctor is like a detective. They need clues to help them move along. So, you as the patient need to provide the doctor with all sorts of clues. That is like it is here. Without having information about a condition, its impossible for anyone here to try to help.

--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 02/21/15 10:40

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