I have been experiencing low back pain for about a year now. I saw a physical therapist twice in the past year, both times were ineffective. Finally, got a doctor to give me an MRI after asking directly for it. Symptoms I've experienced are this: constant low back ache pain, running or other vigorous activity that involves the compression of the spine increases my pain rapidly to the point where I have to stop doing what I am doing. Small movements such as twisting or bending over (think pulling weeds, yard work, etc) slowly increases my pain and really stiffens my back, which lasts about 2 days before returning to the baseline level of pain.
Finally got an MRI and the results are as follows...
L3-L4: small broad based disc bulge without significant neural foraminal narrowing. mild facet arthropathy.
L4-L5: mild disc height loss with left greater than right facet arthropathy causes mild to moderate left, mild right neuroforaminal narrowing.
L5-S1: Mild disc height loss and facet arthropathy results in moderate left, mild to moderate right neuroforaminal narrowing.
My problem is this...I am in the military so my medical situation is a bit different than most in terms of how doctors handle patients. I also fly in the military so my medical standards are even more strict. My doctor needs to treat me, but also has a job to get me back to work...My doctor has told me after reviewing the MRI that my results don't really match my symptoms and everything the MRI showed is "incidental", meaning he doesn't think its the cause of my pain and wants me to continue with additional physical therapy.
I am here for help...I just would like some opinions on whether anyone else has these results or something similar and can shed some light on if these MRI results could actually be the cause of my pain. I am not doubting my doctor, but at the same time I know how the military can be sometimes and they tend to lean more towards things that will get you back to work. For example, when I told them I couldn't run they asked me "so if the plane was on fire, you would just sit there and burn instead of running out?" Meaning....if you can run in the event of a major emergency than you are probably fine to work.
Any medical help on these MRI results would be greatly appreciated as I am simply trying to determine if it would be beneficial to ask for a copy of the results to consult with a civilian radiologist who may have a different view or if my doctor is in fact correct.