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Old 10-17-2004, 02:26 PM   #1
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Can anyone interpret what this means?

On 10/08 I had 2 MRI's done. One was of my head (with and w/o contrast) which turned out normal. The other was of my back, which showed some problems. I also had an EMG done on the same day, and the neuro said something about pinched nerves during the test.

Anyways, here are the results of the lumbar MRI... can anyone explain them to me?

FINDINGS: The conus medullaris is in normal anatomic postion extending to the T2-L1 disk level. No intrinsic abnormalitites are present in the conus medullaris or distal thoracis cord. The T12-L1, L1-L2, and L2-L3 disk levels are unremarkable. No abnormal bone signal. [b]**Ok, that one is pretty much self-explanitory to me. Everything is normal with regards to the mentioned disk areas.***[/b]

L3-L4: Degenerative signal loss is present in the disk. Mild to moderate, 2-3mm, central and bilateral paracentral posterior disk buldge. Minor bilateral articular facet hypertrophy. Mild to moderate central stenosis. Minimal bilateral neural foraminal narrowing.

L4-L5: Degenerative signal loss is present in the disk. Minor, 2mm or less, posterior annular disk buldge without osteophytosis. Minor bilateral articular facet hypertrophy. Mild to moderate central stenosis. Minor bilateral neural foraminal narrowing.

L5-S1: Degenerative signal loss is present in the disk. Mild to moderate, 2-3mm, posterior annular disk buldge with minor posterior osteophytosis. Minor bilateral articular facet hypertrophy. No central stenosis. Minor bilateral neural foraminal narrowing.

CONCLUSION: Spondylotic change at L3-L4, L4-L5, and L5-S1.

I had a lumbar MRI done in 1999, but all I was told by the neurologist then was that I had a herniated disk. ONE. This current MRI shows problems with 3 different disks (as far as I can tell).

Can anyone enlighten me as to what all the above medical-speak means in laymen's terms? Thanks so much.
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Old 10-17-2004, 02:38 PM   #2
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Re: Can anyone interpret what this means?

well, those three discs are losing fluid and shrinking. For example, you see how the geriatrics seem to shrink? well, that is b/c their discs shrink over time and they themselves literally shrink. Did that make any sense?? Well, I have the same thing, commonly called Degenerative Disc Disease, at L4-S1. As well as bulges at both discs, though small. I also have arthritis. In my neck I have a bulge (c5-6), spondylosis and loss of the natural curve of my neck. That is about all I can say, I hope this helped a little. I am a little different as I am 26 and that is fairly young to have DDD.

 
Old 10-17-2004, 02:58 PM   #3
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Re: Can anyone interpret what this means?

Well, I'm 5'10", so a bit of shrinking won't hurt me all that much I don't suppose. It would certainly make my husband happy as he's only 5'3"!

So basically, it's saying that I have DDD?

If so, what are the treatments for it? I know about NSAIDS, I've taken those, and I take Advil on a pretty much daily basis because of headaches. (The reason I had the head MRI done). But, no relief for my back from the Advil.

I'm having a lot of problems with my back here lately. Been going on for about 8 years now (I'm 37), but it's getting worse. I can't even stand at my sink long enough to wash dishes without having to take a break and sit down because of the pain. When cleaning house, again... I have to sit down and take breaks because my back starts killing me from the bending over and walking.

I've also been having numbness and tingling in my legs and arms as well. When I wake up in the morning, my arms are totally asleep. It's real fun stumbling around the bedroom in the dark at 5 AM swinging a numb arm trying to hit the snooze button on the alarm clock! Also, my pinky and ring finger on both hands stay numb 24/7. When I was getting the EMG done, she asked me what I felt bothered me the most. When I told her about the ring and pinky fingers she said that's what she was seeing on the EMG... it was showing up. Then, when the neuro did the needles, he mentioned something about pinched nerves in my back. To be honest, I wasn't really paying attention, I was fighting hack tears and singing the Scooby Doo theme song in my head to try and block out the pain...

I've never had a cervical or thoracic spine MRI done... who knows what those would show? LOL

I told my husband he's going to have to start walking behind me with a wheelbarrow to just put the body parts in as they fall off...
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Old 10-17-2004, 04:45 PM   #4
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Re: Can anyone interpret what this means?

yeah, I keep telling my hubby he got a lemon.
Well, my EMG showed a pinched nerve in my neck as well as all the problems above. I had three epiderals (which may be the third step), and will soon be having a discogram to determine if I need a two level fusion of the lumbar spine. I had a microdiscectomy two years ago, and that disc was healthy aside from the bulge, and now that one is degenerating. I was told nothing could be done for my neck/arm/shoulder pain. Though, we are questioning surgery anyway. Usually you will be sent to physical therapy first, if that doesn't help, the injections, then other tests may follow depending on what your condition is. I get the numbness in my legs and arms too. Just today the top of my right foot felt numb-that was a new one! I feel like I am falling apart!!! Just as you do! (might be a good idea if I invest in a wheel barrel too )

 
Old 10-17-2004, 11:35 PM   #5
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Re: Can anyone interpret what this means?

Hi Guys,I too am a newbie, Im Mink, 2 years ago I had c5 an c6 disc fusion, still have most of symptoms I started out with, the spinal cord is compressed so I am Numb from the waist down, have horrific pain in both hands baby fingers ring fingers like knives cutting in to them, the mri showed spinal canal stenosis, narrowing the AP diameter to 6mm(whatever that means) entending to the c7 consistant with myelomalacia secondary to cord compression sorry I am taking this right off the mri report, could not remember, also a mild disc degeneration at T7-8, also Grade 1 anterolisthesis of L5 over S1 with bilateral spondylolisis(no idea on that either) an finally osteophyte at L2-3 an L3-4 compatible with mild DDD an facet osteoarthritis involving L4-5 facet joint, sorry I am clueless all I know is the pain meds Percoset,Novo Nortriptyline,M-Eslon, Oxycontin, Gabapentin, Ratio Oxycocet, an Ibuprophen nothing stops the pain , it does take the edge off in my hands for a few hours but thats it I am so tired of trying all these drugs to no avail, now my work ins has agreed to pay for the Gabapentin an Oxy, provided I try a work trial when we get the pain under control, but so far has not stopped the pain. It is work for me just to get dressed an make it thru another day, I do have a great sense of humour an will not give in to all this. I am lucky to be walking(gimpy) I am so glad I finally had the nerve to come on here, I am a very private person but do need help. Thank you for any advice anyone can give me. Mink

 
Old 10-17-2004, 11:57 PM   #6
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Re: Can anyone interpret what this means?

Mink, ask your doc about neurontin. For some it really helps. You just got to get the right dosage, so you may have to adjust it. We give that med to a lot of spinal cord injured patients to help with the nerve pain. I am so sorry to hear that you are numb waist down, but you are lucky you can walk around, even if you are a bit gimpy
Don't be shy to come on here, we welcome everyone.

 
Old 10-18-2004, 12:28 AM   #7
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Re: Can anyone interpret what this means?

I have a few minutes so I will cut and paste some terms that you can type into the Google Search engine and it will give you a broad view of what you are looking at.

[COLOR=Blue]the mri showed spinal canal stenosis, narrowing the AP diameter to 6mm[/COLOR]

Look up stenosis.

[COLOR=Blue]entending to the c7 consistant with myelomalacia secondary to cord compression [/COLOR]

cord compression

[COLOR=Blue]mild disc degeneration at T7-8[/COLOR]

DDD (comes with age)

[COLOR=Blue]also Grade 1 anterolisthesis of L5 over S1 with bilateral spondylolisis[/COLOR]

Look this one up.

[COLOR=Blue]osteophyte at L2-3 an L3-4 compatible with mild DDD an facet osteoarthritis involving L4-5 facet joint[/COLOR]

Trouble with your facets (pronounded fa-sets) Osteroarthritis if from an injury. Osteophyte is a bone spur.

You have a lot to look up.

The Stenosis is the most serious. DDD is a fact of life.

good luck,

 
Old 10-18-2004, 02:17 AM   #8
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Re: Can anyone interpret what this means?

DDD is NOT a fact of life for someone who is 26, sorry to disagree. And not only do I have one, but TWO. This is common with age, yes, but not to the degree I have.

 
Old 10-18-2004, 11:55 AM   #9
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Re: Can anyone interpret what this means?

DDD Fact of life,

If this was directed at me, I simply stated that it comes with age. I might be defensive and you are directing this to someone else.

There are a lot of other reasons for DDD if you are young or have other medical problems.

 
Old 10-18-2004, 12:03 PM   #10
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Re: Can anyone interpret what this means?

I didn't mean to offend you betty, I just didn't agree with the statement. I was 24 with my first degenerating disc and now two years later I have two. But, I was very active and was a cheerleader for seven years and my line of work didn't help either. I guess I just felt like it meant my problem wasn't a issue b/c ddd comes with age. Sorry again.

 
Old 10-19-2004, 11:15 PM   #11
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Re: Can anyone interpret what this means?

Hi Mel thanks so much for your reply, its so unbelievable how this stuff changes our lives so much. I cannot belive how much a Back injury can affect so many parts of our bodies, I am still trying to get use to the adjustments this has had on my way of life-compared to what I use to be able to do.(60 hr work weeks) now its hard just to get thru a day at home. And yes I am so very lucky to be walking. Congrats on passing your Exam! An I will try an remember to ask Dr. about Neurton-spelling. I see you are a nite hawk as well, I guess many of us are that are in pain! Question -do you have a lot of vomitting when the meds are upped in dosage? I am on 100mgs of Oxycontin an 1500mgs of Gabapentin a day now, an I go back to Hamilton on Nov 16th an am sure he will be upping the meds again he does every month. The Oxy by 20mgs a day an Gaba 300mgs a day every month. All this vomitting does not seem worth it but I am losing weight which is a good thing for my back, Im not obese but could stand to lose about 50lbs. Well thanks again Mel. Mink

 
Old 10-19-2004, 11:22 PM   #12
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Re: Can anyone interpret what this means?

Hi Injured Betty thanks for the info I copied an pasted your info so I can look it up an get some more answers. I appreciate all the help I can get. Having a place like this board sure helps, dont feel so lost now. I am waitng for appointment for MRI on lower back now, as it has been hurting alot now lately along with my right hip, so Im hoping wont need another surgery am keeping my fingers crossed. LOL Well thanks again. Marlene

 
Old 10-19-2004, 11:24 PM   #13
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Re: Can anyone interpret what this means?

Hi Injured Betty thanks for the info I copied an pasted your info so I can look it up an get some more answers. I appreciate all the help I can get. Having a place like this board sure helps, dont feel so lost now. I am waitng for appointment for MRI on lower back now, as it has been hurting alot now lately along with my right hip, so Im hoping wont need another surgery am keeping my fingers crossed. LOL Well thanks again. Mink

 
Old 10-20-2004, 12:06 AM   #14
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Re: Can anyone interpret what this means?

Mink, I hope something works for you. I haven't had my meds uped (is that a word???), I used to throw up but I realized I was constipated and drinking too much caffeine. I take stool softners every night and drink caffeine free soda and now I am fine. It hit me tonight how my life has been affected and that many things I wanted to do or that I used to enjoy can not be part of my future. That is hard to accept, especially when I did this to myself, in a way (by choice of job). I wanted to go skydiving or bungie jump, or even go on a spinnaker. I can't ride rollercoasters, Iknow that isn't a big deal to some, but I love them. I wanted to go to LA and go to six flags and universal studios-can't do that now. I wanted to be a cheerleading coach, an active one, and I can't do that. I wanted to get back into dancing, can't do that. So, it saddens me sometimes, but, selavie. Atleast I am alive, right???

 
Old 10-20-2004, 04:43 PM   #15
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Re: Can anyone interpret what this means?

Mel,
Some of those things may not seem important to others, but if it is important to you then that's what matters. I fully understand what you are saying. My husband has a Harley, ( no we are not young kids, I'm 44 and he's 50, so I'm definitely not a biker chick), but we always ride every summer as much as possible and ride in probably 8-10 charity rides every year. We have missed all of them this year because of my back problems and I have felt lost. I have tried to convince him to go without me, but he says it's just not the same. He's only rode 2 or 3 times for a few minutes this summer, so I feel like I'm holding him back too.

Another thing that really bothers me is my son needed someone to keep my grandson this week. He gets him 1 week every month and while he's working he needs someone to take him to daycare 3 days out of the week and someone to keep him the other 2 days while he's working. I usually do this for him, but since I just had my surgery recently I wasn't able to do it this month. So he was unable to have his week with him this month. It broke my heart.

People not going through this just do not realize how much our lives are changed and what we give up. I'm sure this all sounds petty to some too, but isn't that what we are all here for, a little support and info when we need it. But I do thank God I am able to walk still and hopefully will soon be back to a normal life.

Sorry to go on and on but your post just touched my heart.

Memaw

 
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