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Help me understand my MRI

edited 12/18/2015 - 12:29 AM in Lower Back Pain
i really need some help! i received my 3rd mri the other day and i cant understand it and the doctors aren't saying a whole lot.....

the vertebral bodies are normally aligned and show preserved heights. bone marrow signal intensity is normal. there is minimal disc desiccation at l5-s1.

between the levels of l1-l3, the central canal is well maintained. the bilateral neuroforamina are patent.
at the level of l3-4, there is left facet arthropathy without evidence of significant central canal stenosis or neuroforaminal narrowing.

at level of l4-5, there is bilateral facet arthropathy and minimal disc bulge without evidence of significant central canal stenosis. there is moderate left and mild right neuroforaminal narrowing increased compared to prior of 2/25/2014.

at the level of l5-s1, there is facet arthropathy and diffuse disc bulge eccentric to the left contributing to mild bilateral neuroforminal narrowing unchanged. the central canal is well maintained. there are small cysts at the posterior left facet.

degenerative changes most significant at l4-5 with moderate left and mild right neuroforaminal narrowing increased compared to prior of 2/25/14. mild neuroforaminal narrowing at l5-s1 unchanged.

i have chronic back pain that goes down my left leg but i do not understand what any of this means. can someone break it down for me please.


no one on the spine-health patient forums is medically qualified to provide any advice or recommendations on any diagnostic test. however, the following key words can always be applied.
  • mild 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.moderate some more treatments may be needed, ie spinal injections, ultra sound and stronger medications. always a possibility of more aggressive treatment if the conservative measures don't helpsevere need for stronger medications. the requirement for surgery may be necessary
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. 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.

specific comments :

personal opinion, not medical advice :

liz spine-health moderator
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