Re: back problems and MRI results
Welcome to the board. As you know, none of us have formal medical training, so take that into consideration when reading anything on boards such as this and others. I can give you an impression of the MRI report but you will want to talk with your doctor for accurate, medical information.
Basically the MRI looks pretty good. I wouldn't think you'd had a serious accident based on the information contained in this report. Of course a MRI or any imaging or test result is just one piece of the puzzle. Your doctor will use any information gained from a physical exam, your oral medical history in addition to this imaging to make a diagnosis.
Always look at the "Impression" as it is a summary of the findings. Your states that you do not have any discs that have protruded and no spinal stenosis. This is good news.
Stenosis is a word from the Greek that basically means a narrowing. Think of a lead pipe that eventually gets impacted with mineral deposits. In the spine, there are two categories of stenosis: one is of the central canal, where the spinal cord runs from the neck down to about the lumbar 1-2 level. Beyond that you can still have stenosis of the central canal; it's just that the spinal cord ends at L1-2 on most people...beyond that the nerves bundle together and are referred to as the cauda equina (horse's tail, because that's what it looks like).
The second location for stenosis is what you see on your report: neuroforaminal stenosis or sometimes called foraminal stenosis. The foramina are openings through which the spinal nerves exit the spine. This is another source of blockage that can result in the radiating pain we spineys often feel running down a leg, or causing a numb finger or toe, etc.
Again, think of that pipe. Due to the aging process, sometimes some degeneration occurs, causing a general thickening of ligaments, the growth of bone spurs, etc. These can clog up the foraminal openings and the central canal, taking away space that is needed by the nerves. When it takes up too much space, the nerve can become compressed or "pinched."
Sometimes this can be dealt with using conservative treatments like physical therapy, oral medications and steroid injections, but sometimes surgery is necessary to decompress the nerve and clean out the "gunk" that is filling up the opening. (sort of a roto-rooter process for the spine).
You have this foraminal stenosis at two levels and one or both could be causing your pain symptoms.
The report says [B]recommended correlation for right L5 nerve root symptoms.[/B] The doctor will perform a simple leg lift on you to see if he thinks you have a problem indicative of a L5 nerve root issue....he will correlate his findings to what the radiologist sees on the MRI.
Your problem with your right foot is symptomatic of a L5 nerve issue...and the fact that you get some relief from bending forward is a classic indication that you have some stenosis. At least from my perspective, your symptoms match up with what the MRI is indicating.
Hopefully when you see your doctor, he will be able to diagnose your pain generator and put together a plan of treatment for you. He will not tell you that surgery is in your immediate future...at least not based on what you have written here!!
Good luck. Feel free to post with any questions or concerns...and let us know what the doctor has to say.