Re: Understanding MRI Results?
As you can see, severe is mentioned to describe several problems in your back. Many surgeons won't do surgery unless the condition is severe.
Facet arthropathy is basically degeneration/arthritis of the facet joints. At each spine level, you have the disc and two facet joints (one on each side) which allow you to bend and twist at that level. Your facet joints are basically shot at several levels. This condition can be fixed by a spinal fusion at that level.
Degenerative disk disease at L5-S1 - at the lowest level of your spine you have severe degeneration of the disc. This basically means the disc is dried up and has lost height which can pinch nerves at that level then.
Central canal stenosis - stenosis basically means narrowing, so your central canal where your nerve roots go through is narrowed which can cause nerve pinching.
Multilevel posterior disk protrusions - at several levels you have disc protrusions where the outer rim of the discs are protruding into your central canal where your nerves are, and where you already have narrowing (stenosis).
You basically have narrow areas for your nerves and nerve roots to travel through due to the several factors above. This means you are likely experiencing both back and leg pain. Surgery would likely be the only option which could give you significant relief.
How bad is your pain and where is your pain located at?
The funny thing is someone with an innocent-sounding MRI can need surgery and be in bad pain, where someone with a nasty-sounding MRI can function for years without having surgery. Just because your MRI is bad doesn't necessarily mean you need surgery immediately. However, bad-sounding MRI's are far more likely to need surgery of course.
You're the only one who can decide if and when you're ready for surgery, but most likely the surgeon you will be seeing is going to recommend surgery for you.