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Old 04-06-2008, 11:22 AM   #1
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Only four lumbar vertabrae, what does it mean?

Hi all, I had an xray done of my back recently and the report says only four lumbar type vertabral bodies are identified. And there may be a presence of a transitional type vertebra.? I've had lower back, hip and leg pain since I was in my teens, i'm 30 now. Could this be the cause of it? Everything i've read says we usually have 5 vertabra and sometimes even six. I can't find any info on four. Any help would be appreaciated, Thank you.

~OhWell

Last edited by OhWell77; 04-06-2008 at 05:34 PM.

 
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Old 04-06-2008, 11:55 AM   #2
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Re: Only four lumbar vertabrae, what does it mean?

I am sorry that I don't know the answer for your question, but I want to say something anyway.
As far as I know by now (having spinal problems and having fusion surgeries) ex-rays are not an accurate test to identify the problems. I know insurances requare ex-rays first. MRI, Ct, Myelograms, discograms are more accurate tests.
Ask your DR to " read" report for you and ask him what does he want to do next.

Good luck to you and best wishes!

 
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Old 04-06-2008, 01:40 PM   #3
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Re: Only four lumbar vertabrae, what does it mean?

That's very curious! And why did they do the x-ray? Was it a specialist who ordered it?

Sounds like an appointment with an orthopedic spine specialist would be in order. Look for one who has done a fellowship, as they have more experience.

I wish you the best,
Emily

 
Old 04-06-2008, 05:32 PM   #4
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Re: Only four lumbar vertabrae, what does it mean?

Thanks for the responses. I actually had the xrays ordered through a rheumatologist, she was checking for some type of juvenile arthritis. My pcp sent me to her because of some blood work results. I see her again tuesday and i'm sure she's going to send me for an mri because she told me she'd most likely follow up with one at my last appointment.

I actually looked back at an xray my pcp had ordered a year ago because of my complaints of hip and back pain, that one said the same thing... four lumbar vertabral. That one actually said they were sacrilized (sp?).

Now i'm more confused because I thought, or was hoping at least, i'd get responses saying that was normal.

Thanks again! Any more info would be much appreciated. Especially if you've been told you have the same thing.

~OhWell

 
Old 04-06-2008, 10:24 PM   #5
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Re: Only four lumbar vertabrae, what does it mean?

For most humans, there are 5 vertebrae segments in the lumbar spine. You mentioned sacrolized. I am not sure, but I am totaly guessing that your S1 segment has fused to your sacrum, leaving you with 4. You need to discuss this with your doctor to know for certain.

Hope that helps.
__________________
"believe in the beauty of your dreams"- E. Roosevelt

L5/S1 bulging @ 18, now 46; still there (but no pain)
Fusion at L4/L5 Apr -2006
Solidly Fused Nov-2006
A Success, but still improving!

 
Old 04-07-2008, 02:35 AM   #6
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Re: Only four lumbar vertabrae, what does it mean?

If only your lower back was x-rayed and there's no clear L5 then they call the one immediately following the transitional vertebrae L4, one reason why it says you have only 4. This doesn't seem to be too odd. Does your reports say whether it's sacralized on one or both sides?

I have had back pain since my teens too, with a bit of oddness in my lumbar spine - a transitional vertebrea with sacralization on the right and incomplete sacralization on the left of L5-S1. It's my understanding that the deformity in that area can set one up for future disc problems on the levels above the transitional vertebrae (more mobile from thinner iliolumbar ligament?). In my case there's a bulge and annular tear at the L4-L5 disc. So it would be best to check for disc problems with an mri.
If you're still a bit confused, use a search engine and look up "transitional vertebrae" or "transitional lumbosacral vertebrae" it might clear things up a little. It's a genetic deformity and you may even have a close family member that has it.

 
Old 04-10-2008, 08:01 PM   #7
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Re: Only four lumbar vertabrae, what does it mean?

It didn't say which side is sacralized.
Getting an MRI done tomorrow, the rheumy suspects spondylolisthesis? because of the pain and blood work results.
She said she's never heard of a missing vertebrae and is not sure what problems it could cause. eh?
Thanks for the info. I'll be sure to update when I get more information.
In the mean time, still looking for anyone who may be missing a lumbar vertebrae.
~OhWell

P.S. Both my brother and Father have Degenerative disc disease.

Last edited by OhWell77; 04-10-2008 at 08:03 PM.

 
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