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L5 Over S1

sassy411ssassy411 Posts: 199
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:50 AM in Lower Back Pain
The xrays of my low back are in, here is what my doc wrote:

"Mild DDD at L3-5 levels with some forward sliding of L5 over S1."

He ordered an MRI, which I had on Monday & I'm now waiting for some word on how that turned out.

"Mild DDD"?! Wth? It doesn't feel mild to me.

When I spoke to my doctor's assistant, she did tell me to "take it easy" with my daily water exercise routine until we get the MRI back (I water jog with a jog belt & gloves--will this cause problems?)

Can anyone tell me about the L5 over S1 stuff? Would that cause the amount of pain I have?

Thoughts? Thanks!


  • Like Ron posted in another thread, DDD is extremely misunderstood. Every person, young and old, has DDD to some extent, with it more prevalent as we age, and some extreme, some not so much. It doesn't cause pain in everyone and many times is not the driving factor in pain. Generally, this is referred to as spondylosis and per an article here on SH, is more a diagnosis of DDD than a problem in and of itself.
    spine-health article said:
    Degeneration of the spine is a natural phenomenon that occurs as people age. In fact, it is more common for people over age 60 to have degeneration of the spine than not. It is important to note that evidence of spondylosis on an MRI or a computed tomography scan (CT scan) does not mean that the patient’s neck or back pain is being caused by the degeneration.
    This is a quote from only a part of an article on DDD (spondylosis) that I searched on this site.

    As to the "slippage", he may be referring to spondylolisthesis, but you need to get that from your doctor.

    So I suggest just waiting until your MRI comes back to see what the surgeon reports. In the meantime, you might take the time to put the words you have in your post and put them at the top of the page to search for articles regarding them. I just did that with sponylosis and spondylolisthesis and you might find them interesting.

    I'm in no way saying these things are happening to you, that's totally up to your doctor, but just know that DDD in and of itself may or may not be what the major problems is with regards to your pain.

    Take care and please keep us posted.
  • Thanks, Cathie. I think I'm just looking for some validation that the pain & misery I feel has some legitimate cause.

    My neck x ray shows moderate arthritis & DDD, but "no" evidence of nerve root impingement. Really? Then how do they explain the symptoms, pain, burning, arm & shoulder pain, etc.

    I have been reading up on the slippage thing, I guess it's a matter of how much nerve impingement there is.

    Hopefully, my MRI results will be in soon.

    Last night, I had a bit of an epiphany. After a couple of hours at the computer--I manage to push myself to always get my work done, no matter what, I had to lie down on my stomach for awhile to wait for the next pain pill to kick in.

    It hit me--if this is what it takes, then it's ok to lie down in the middle of the day.

    And, later that evening when I went to my bedroom to be able to be comfy while watching TV & trying to figure out what the heck is wrong with me & when will I get a diagnosis, I realized it's not all that important. Oh sure, we need to know what's wrong to figure out how to fix it. But the diagnosis doesn't determine how much pain I'm in. What I feel is what I feel.
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  • Not all pain and misery are caused by anything that will show up on an MRI. Muscles and ligaments can cause as much pain as bones and disks :)

    Muscle swelling can even cause nerve impingement, but it won't show up on an MRI.

    So if your ortho surgeon decides there's nothing for him to fix, don't give up! There is other help out there :) Personally, I like physiatrists for the mechanical stuff.

    As for the slippage, I also have a mild slippage at L5/S1 (mine is a retrolisthesis, the opposite of a spondylolisthesis). After discussing it thoroughly with my neurosurgeon and my physiatrist/PM, I am fairly confident I can manage it with physical therapy and will not need surgery to fix it. Remember that knowing what is causing the pain is only the first step- the second step is figuring out what to do about it! Have you been in PT?
  • I keep bugging my doc about it--I'm desperate to find some cardio I can do without tearing up my back or my knee. But he's not going to order it or anything different until my MRI results are in. Then he'll make a decision about whether to ship me off to a specialist or what.

    We're still at the very early stages of figuring this all out. The DDD & slippage showed up on an x ray.

    My neck x ray showed moderate arthritis but gives me all kinds of grief.
  • Neck muscles can cause pain too, so the PT could help for both. I'm quite surprised that PT wasn't one of the first steps!
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  • Please don't get me wrong, I in way meant to imply that your pain is not real, not validated and is only in your mind. I only meant that there are so many things that could be causing your pain and trust me, most of us have times when the doc can't find the cause but the pain is very real and is there. It causes us debilitation, and I understand that yours is that way as well.

    The key is to find where it's coming from, where sometimes the difficulty comes in. I was only suggesting that DDD may not be the culprit in itself, but know that you have pain that lays you out for periods of time, like me and others here.

    So I apologize if I diminished what you were saying - I was really only point out facts about DDD, not in any way saying that your pain is not real or not from a legitimate source, and I truly believe your pain is valid.

    I'm hoping that you find that doctor that pinpoints the problem and gives you a course of action. I know your pain is real, as is mine and every one else here. Sometimes it's the finding the source that's the difficulty.

    Take care, and again, I'm sorry if I didn't make myself clear.

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