I am 62 yrs old, try to be as active as can. Have had a sore back for months and very sore ankles/feet for over a year. Was told degenerative in back and feet is from flat arche. Back was real bad last week, had MRI of lumbar done.
Results: Mild retrolisthesis of L2 on L3?
Hemangiomas in L2 & other scattered focal fat or hemangiomas?
Multilevel disc desiccation w narrowing most pronounced L2-3?
a couple bulge disc
Mild narrowing of cntrl. canal w severe narrowing of rt. subarticular recess and moderate narrowing of the left subarticular recess? There is mild bilateral foraminal narrowing?
Disc bulge w superimposed rt. foraminal disc protrusion? Bilateral facet arthropathy / ligamentum flavum hypertrophy?
Back is a little better except when sit too long, left foot always hurts, worse when walking as well as back. Been on a number of arthritis meds. (told this is all arthritis) just past week pain pills. MRI was a week ago and still no word word from my doctor after I left 3 messages asking for results. I did optain MRI report.
Some one told me could be senosis? And Yoga could help. Afraid of surg.
At lose as to where to go, what to do, anyone with similar problems
At a lose,
I just found out that my ankle has lost the cartledge between the 2 bones, that is why so sore. They gave me a cortizone shot, first 24 hrs. felt good. Have used ice tonight, ankle hurts again. Some one recommended Lecithin - has anyone used this vitamin? Do not let anyone say old is wonderful.
First, I am sorry that you are having to suffer all that pain, and I know exactly how you feel, though I am only 40. My problems first started at around age 33 or 34.
I certainly cannot give you a diagnosis, but I can tell you that, from my own experience, it sounds like you do have spinal stenosis, which can be caused from spinal arthritis, most commonly osteoarthritis. However, there are hundreds of types of arthritis so it really could be many things. Also like you, I have painful ankles, though it's most been and worst in my right ankle. I've also lost cartilage plus have spots of cartilage and bone damage in there, if I remember correctly, on the tarsal bone. My MRI looked as though I jumped off a building and damaged my foot, but I never hurt it. It just happened over the years. My ankle has also collapsed inward and I, too, have a flat and inward rolling foot.
But back to the spine, I can tell you what some of the things mean in your MRI. I believe retrolisthesis is when one vertebrae is like out of place and slips backwards over another one. Hemangiomas are benign tumors of blood vessels. I actually have a large one right on my liver that has caused me pain in the past, but nothing could be done about it. It hasn't bothered me in years, though. There's also a loss of disc height which is actually normal. Yes, it can cause problems, but everyone loses disc water and height as they age. It sounds like the most disc loss is between the L2 and L3 vertebrae. If you are not sure what L2 and L3 mean....every vertebrae in the spine is labeled with both a letter and number. Vertebrae in your neck/upper back are labeled C with a corresponding number. The numbers are just the counts of those vertebrae. For example, most lumbar spines have 5 vertebrae, so doctors denote them by labeling them as L1, L2, L3, L4, and L5. Same goes for the cervical, thoracic, and sacral vertebrae. You also have some bulging discs which might or might not be causing any pain.
The word stenosis means narrowing. From your MRI, you have some narrowing of your spinal canal, which could be caused by the disc bulges and the ligamentum flavum hypertrophy. The ligamentum flavum is a ligament that connects parts of your vertebrae together. Hypertrophy means enlargement, which usually means it thickens, so you have an enlargement of yours. If this ligament enlarges, it can also jut into your spinal canal and/or surrounding nerves. This is another problem that can cause spinal stenosis. I had a lot of thickening of mine as well as mine buckled into my canal if I tried to stand straight or lay flat. Bilateral foraminal narrowing means: bilateral means 2, so in this case, means on both sides. Each vertebrae has foramen on each side. The foramen are the openings on each side where your spinal nerves exit and branch out. So you have some narrowing of these areas. A foraminal disc proturusion means a disc has actually herniated out and into the space where the nerve exits. This most certainly can cause pain! I had this as well.
Bilateral facet arthropathy: again bilateral means 2, so in this case it means on both sides; arthropathy means disease of joints, or in other words degeneration or arthritis; Facet joints are the bones that actually connect each vertebrae together and allow for movement. So you have degenerations of these joints on both sides.
As far as spinal stenosis, I had several things that can cause it: several disc herniations, bony overgrowth of my facet joints, and other areas, thickening and buckling of the ligamentum flavum into my canal. Each of these things was causing a narrowing of my spinal canal in my lumbar spine. The actual spinal cord is not in this area - it ends around the first lumbar level, but we do have a big bundle of nerves in the lumbar spine that come off the spinal cord, which resemble a horses tail, called the cauda equina. Since the spinal cord isn't in this area, having stenosis here could not actually causes paralysis, but it can cause lots of nerve damage and even possibly bowel and bladder problems if it's bad. Spinal stenosis does make it very hard to walk, I can certainly vouch for that! And then you usually cannot walk upright, you have to bend over all the time. Even with sitting, it feels better to bend over forward. Laying down does not help either unless you lay in the fetal position, which is what I had to do.
Does it help you to lean onto a shopping cart when you walk? Does it seem to make your pain better? If you've never tried it, then I think you should. It really helps a lot. Another question...if you try to bend backwards at all, does your pain worsen? If so, that is another sign of stenosis.
My symptoms started when I was 33 or 34, and then it was just what I now know are back spasms. These would occur any time I was walking around, but the pain would come and go. Then after a while, the spasms never went away. This is by no means normal, so do not let this scare you, but in just 3 years time, I was almost no longer able to walk at all. I could walk maybe 20-30 feet at a stretch and even that was very painful and a big struggle. My spine surgeon said it was unusual to see someone my age to have this, especially since my stenosis was not just caused by herniations. I could no longer stand up straight at all, couldn't lean back, couldn't sit normal, couldn't sleep normal, was in pain all the time. No medications were helping anymore. But again, just because I got this bad, it does not mean it would happen to you as well. There are many people who get and keep having mild stenosis, while others get completely disabled by it. Again, it depends on what is causing the stenosis, etc.
I hope this gives you a better understanding at least of what all those words mean on your MRI. If your doctor is not getting back to you, especially since you already have the MRI report, then I would suggest that you see a different doctor. One who WILL listen and explain things, answer questions, and try to help you.
Thank you for some of the information. You have given me a little better picture. To answer your couple questions - it does feel better to lean in to shopping cart. Plus I am not sure on my feet when walking alone. Guess I also should say "too proud to use a cane" Other question - it does hurt to a point if I lean backwards. If I go slow it is o.k. I esp. feel it at night if moving, rolling and lean backwards to change possition, that hurts some what. I am not one to complain of pain, but past year has been my worse.
I work full time and feel disability is in the near future.
I am in the process of setting up an apt. with a new doctor. No word from my family doctor since MRI - leaving 3 messages I feel is enough.
I've had someone tell me yoga may help. And being over weight doesn't help. Between back and worse are the feet, can not go walking. My foot doctor has told me he can not believe how well I get around with my ankles in the shape they are.
I appreciate your explaining of some of the medical terms of my MRI. May I ask, with your condition - do you work full time or on disability?
Even my walking around the house I am careful as to not to fall, do find myself very unsure on my feet.
I hope this week to confirm an apt. with a Orthapedic and go from there.
Thank you again
You're welcome. (Sorry I'm a little late replying back). I know what you mean when you say "to proud to use a cane." I did the same thing when I probably really should have used one. I got to a point I could have been in a wheelchair, but refused to use anything...stubborn, I guess.
I actually do work full-time because I have no choice. I only have me to support myself and if I went on disability, I would never be able to afford to live, it's just not enough money. I think I would be on my death bed and still trying to work. I have to say I am a lot better since my spine surgery. At least now I can walk around for about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes, though I try to lean on shopping carts when possible. And I can walk almost upright again. Yes, I still have pain, plus other new pains, but I take a bunch of meds which help a lot. Right now my biggest problem seems to be new nerve symptoms, many of which in no way can be related to my lumbar spine problems. I do take Lyrica, which helps, but it doesn't entirely keep my nerve symptoms away.
Definitely let me know if/when you get that other doctor appointment and what they think or did. Again, I can't diagnose you, but from some of your answers you might have stenosis. One of the hallmark signs is not being able to lean backwards or having worsening pain when doing so as well as having to lean on a shopping cart or walker or something else while walking. Leaning forward is usually what lessens lumbar stenosis pain.
I do have a doctor apt. on Nov. 18th at The Rothman Institute in my area. They have the written report from the MRI but also requested the CD with the images. I notice you mentioned you also have nerve damage. I have something called Tremors. It has effected my writing somewhat. I notice I need to write slower or it is all sribble, right hand shakes with cup or glass in it, etc. I see a Neurologist for that.
My back has been o.k the past week. My feet right now has been giving me problems. Of course what else is new. Going out on disability does not pay. The insurance alone would eat up more than half of what you'd receive. I lot of the medication my Primary doctor perscribs for arthritis doesn't work. And they don't understand. On that note - to this date I have to yet hear from my Primary doctor on results of MRI. Don't need him now after a month - apt. with a new doctor.
Ohhh, that's great! I went to Rothman for my spine surgery and they were highly recommended to me. I even got to speak to some prior patients in my Physical Therapy who used my surgeon, which was great. I have been thinking of going there to get another opinion about my right ankle, which is really bad, but haven't gotten around to it yet. My sister used them for her recent shoulder surgery as well and has had an excellent outcome. I am very glad that I went there because, like I said, I am a lot better than I was before surgery. With the scar tissue, they do all they can to minimize it and so did I with stretching and PT, but it still happens. I do have a lot of other joint problems as well as spinal arthritis and my surgeon said right off the bat that surgery would not help arthritis pain and I understood that. I wish you lots of luck with that appointment and let me know how it goes!
I was involved in a car accident where I hurt my back in three places. One thing I've notice is that hot/cold treatments work when you do them all the time--especially when you feel fine. A really good massage therapist will work wonders, so keep looking for the right one. Another factor is the circulation, so keep moving.
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