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New MRI report, anyone have similar problems?

TiffanyTerrorTTiffanyTerror Posts: 44
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Lower Back Pain
I picked up the report the other day from my latest MRI. This report is pretty different from the one I had 3 years ago. I don't completely know what it all means (im seeing a doctor sometime next week) so...I was wondering if any of you had similar problems etc and how you are dealing with/treating them? I know about disc bulging and herniated discs but Im not so familiar with the neural foraminal encroachment stuff? :/

L1- L4 - There is minimal disc bulging. The disc demonstrates normal hydration. Neural foramen are intact.

L5-S1 - There is dehydration of the disc and narrowing of the disc space. Discogenic changes are seen in the adjacent vertebral body endplates. There is prominent disc bulging which results in mild inferior neural foramina encroachment on the left. There is a small subligamentous disc protrusion in the right lateral recess which results in prominent inferior neural foraminal encroachment. This encroaches upon the exiting nerve root at this level.

1. There is a small subligamentous disc protrusion in the right lateral recess at L5-S1 which encroaches upon the exiting nerve root at this level.

2. Minimal disc bulging is present at other levels.

I find myself a little concerned about the minimal disc bulging at other levels because at my MRI 3 years ago they were all fine. My L5-S1 issues started as the same. Im only 22 so....Im a little scared to think whats yet to happen. So if anyone has any adivce or experiences that you would like to share, I would really appreciate it.


(x posted on DDD board)



  • i'm 20 years old which is young to be having back problems as well. i started having weird sensations in my leg about a year ago, went to a dr and had an mri done and he told me it was degenerative disc disease and that there was nothing he could do. so i just lived with it until about a week ago (about 9 months after the mri) the pain was so bad i couldnt deal with it anymore so im being referred to a specialist. im frustrated because when i picked up my mri this week to take to the specialist the report seems more serious than the dr at the walk in clinic had told me. these are the results

    L4-5: there is partial desiccation of the disc with a posterior central minimal broad based disc protrusion containing an annular tear

    L5-S1: there is a small central disc protrusion containing an annular tear. partially desiccated disc. the right L5 and S1 nerve root is partially conjoined.

    and this was a year ago. i have a feeling that it has gotten worse because i wasnt in pain a year ago but now am on lortab's and they just take the edge off. im beyond frustrated because i am so young and after reading a bunch of posts im not very optimistic about the future. are the only options surgery or very expensive injections. im a poor college kid. i cant afford either :(
  • o and from an anatomy class the foramen are the holes that the vertebrae forms through which your spinal nerves pass.
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  • Unfortunatley I know what you mean about the doctors blowing you off.

    The last guy I saw gave me an xray since my MRI was 3 years old. he then tried to tell me that based off that xray he could tell that nothing had changed from the MRI. Thats like comparing apples and oranges. I flat out asked him if he thought the xray was sufficient and that I didnt need an MRI and he said yes. Well long story short I mentioned my friends name (who happens to be a well respected dr in the pain management field) and he was like :O well if he wants to see one I will order you one.

    Flash forward to after my MRI and LOTS of things have changed. I now have multi level disc bulging, minimal, but still. My problems at L5-S1 have progressed significantly.

    He spent the entire appt telling me to lose weight, (im MAYBE 50lbs overweight) and he never physically examined me other than to test my reflexes.

    I really feel like doctors blow young people off way too much. Most of the young people on this board had to fight tooth and nail just to get diagnosed.

    How recent is your MRI?
  • my mri was done in march of last year

    i went to a specialist this morning and he told me that i did have DDD with a couple of bulging discs and a bilateral radiculopathy and put me in physical therapy. he also told me to lose weight. the weight that i have gained is due to my back hurting so much. i cant exercise like i used to im not too excited about it but will do it if it can help me out. hes hoping that by stretching my spine out that the discs will stop bulging and the tears will heal themselves. what scared me is that he did a few tests today that showed that my right leg is significantly weaker than my left which is another effect of a bulging disc.

    and ya the whole doctors not diagnosing young people really does suck for lack of a better word. there are too many people out there looking for drugs or something that people who really need the help are descriminated against

    so whats the next step with you?
  • Sorry for your back problems at such a young age. I am old enough to be your mom so my heart goes out to you. Most colleges offer health insurance so check it out. If you are still in school your parents insurance should cover you at school, check into it. There are also programs to help out low income folks, ask your counselor about what's available.

    I am overweight and had a 360 fusion with ADR 7 weeks ago and I am so happy I did it. L4/L5 fusion with ADR from the front. I am pain free and so happy. My disc issue was the L4 slipping over the L5 and causing pain when moving. Have you had X-rays while in a leaning/bent position? You have to be your own advocate especially when young so the doctors see you are serious.

    Best Wishes ladies
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  • Wish I could say I havent been there done that. I think its ridiculous that doctors think losing weight is a cure all. I understand that being overweight doesnt HELP...but..it didnt cause it, and all the docs ive seen act that way.

    I tried asking the last ortho i went to about losing weight. I told him that just like you, i cant move enough to make a significant impact. He didnt seem to have any answers. Im looking into water therapy, theres a place around here that has an underwater treadmill. Seems fairly promising.

    As for me..Im not sure what is next. I havent gone back to the last ortho I saw a few months ago to show him my MRI because he was an idiot. Im waiting on some of my old records to be mailed to me so I can take them to a few Dr. friends who said they would give me advice. So...I guess its going to depend on what they say, and just continuing physical therapy in the meantime.

    Also thinking of going the corset route, has anyone recommended that to you at all?
  • Yeah insurance is insane. Im not in school so I had to get my own policy. $360 a month just for myself. Talk about ridiculous. ~X(

    Im glad to hear that your fusion worked so well, lately it seems like Ive only been reading about failed ones.

    I have never been given the flexion/extension xrays, Im going to ask one of the doctors about that. It seems like it should have been done already after all these years but..like you said, you pretty much have to order your own tests if you want them done.

    Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it. :)
  • ya i had the xrays done and apparently they were fine its just the bulging disc that is bothering me so much luckily im married and my husband has great insurance but when it comes to the injections that my doctor is talking about i still have to pay 20 percent which is a good chunk.

    and no i havent heard of the corset thing? explain :)))

    my mom had the fusion as well in her lower back and it didnt help her becuase she had too much scar tissue build up but i have heard of success with it too so i think it depends on each individuals body.

    with me im really hoping physical therapy helps. the doctor seemed optimistic that i caught it somewhat early. although i cant wrap my head around the idea that stretching my back will heal the tears in the disc :/
  • Well years ago my mom had a herniated disc and was in a ton of pain. I remember she used to have back spasms so bad when she was walking that she would yell for me so she had something to help her get to a chair etc.

    They have her a brace/corset to wear. I don't remember the exact specifics beacuse i was much younger. She had to put it on laying down and tighten it etc. It kept her from having bad "posture" or using her back muscles to do alot of things. Plus my PT told me not to bend over, twist, lean over or do anything like that. I have found it near impossible since those are things you do without thinking. The brace helps you keep with proper body mechanics and gives your back a chance to "heal". My mom never ended up having surgery or anything else. She had 2 epidural injections but thats it.

    So..Im trying to get some more information on it, Ill pass it on if your interested. :)
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