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Unique symptoms?

5 months ago I started have low back pain spasms that are located directly on the spine bone (L5?).  It is a stabbing pain, feels like it is horizontal (while standing) and happens most frequently when standing or walking.  The best way to describe the onset is; While standing, relax into your hips.  At that point the pain spasm strikes.

Are my symptoms unique?  The doctor I am currently seeing keeps acting as if he has never heard of these symptoms before and repeatedly has  me repeat my symptoms. (note: I am healthy, 63 year old male, athletic, exercise regularly.  I do not take pain medication except for recently starting to take Tylenol)

I just finished an MRI with the following observation:

L5-S1: Severe disk degeneration. Negative for spinal canal stenosis.
Modic type II degenerative vertebral body marrow signal inferior L5
vertebral body. Moderate right L5-S1 foraminal stenosis from disk
degeneration and foraminal disk protrusion osteophyte complex which
contacts the undersurface of the exiting right L5 nerve root. Mild
left foraminal stenosis.

If I read this correctly, is this a bone spur that is in direct contact with my nerve root?

(I am about ready to get a second opinion from another skeletal spine doctor, but found this forum to ask questions.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.



  • LizLiz Posts: 9,745

    Hello badwolfe 

    welcome to spine-health

    There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice. 

    This might help as a guideline


    Treated with conservative measures such as Physical Therapy and mild medications.  Many times these situations can be cleared up and the condition can be resolved without any additional treatments.


    Some more treatments may be needed, such as Spinal Injections, Ultra sound and stronger medications.  There are always the possibility of more aggressive treatments if the conservative measures have not helped.  Most of the time, surgery is not an immediate solution.


    Need for stronger medications would be required.   Surgery may be necessary to correct the condition

    Another key word to look for is unremarkable.  That is a positive statement

    learn how to use spine-health - take the system tutorial 


    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 6,397


    Welcome to Spine-Health! 
    I agree with what you said about another opinion, either with a neurologist or neurosurgeon. They can read your MRI and hopefully find out what is going on. A tip we give a lot of members is to start keeping a pain diary every day and take it with you. Write down when the pain is the worst, how often, where in your back, what were you doing, etc. It makes it easier for the doctor to put the "puzzle" together.

    Take care and please keep us posted on your progress.

    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator
    Please read my  Medical History
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  • badwolfe

    I agree that you need a second opinion, either a neurosurgeon or a orthopedic spine surgeon, Sandra gave you some great advice about writing everything down, I have posted a link below that may be helpful.


    Veritas-Health Moderator

  • Thank you for the forum guidance and advice on my particular situation.  I will start a pain diary immediately and find that neurologist,  neurosurgeon or orthopedic spine surgeon for a second opinion!

  • MarWinMarWin OhioPosts: 700

    What do you mean "relax your hips"? When you do this, what happens to your posture? In your diary, you might want to add the number of hours spent static (sitting, standing, lying) versus active (exercising, lifting - and make note of the types of variable movement you perform). I used to think I was very active until I started keeping track. 

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  • Hi badwolfe -  the way you describe your pain symptoms remind me of the way that I often feel.  Like a stabbing knife jab, especially upon waking and standing, when placing weight on my left leg.  Ugh, it's so depressing (I'm 64).  We're supposed to exercise to keep heart healthy, but how do you exercise when you're in pain?    

    I had an MRI that indicated degenerative changes between L4-L5, with a disc protrusion compressing the L5 nerve root (that's the short version).  Anyway, I was referred by my GP to a spine specialist and now I'm set up for PT and an epidural injection.  Met with the physical therapist this morning and he told me this is a very common occurrence (old age, ain't for sissies!) and thinks I'll find relief with PT, the epidural injection, and by taking Gabapentin (I have numbness in my leg at times now too).

    I agree with others that you should seek out a spine specialist, that has proven very helpful for me (so far).  Good luck!

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