Re: could someone translate this?
Welcome to the board.
I'm not sure who the comments that you have in quotes are from, but they seem to suggest greater "damage" that the MRI radiology report states.
It is important to remember that the MRI may show something that is less than 100% normal that is not causing the patient a bit of pain. Sometimes something will be noted that is only discovered when the patient has im.aging for another purpose. Therefore, any imaging is just one piece of the diagnostic puzzle. The physician will also perform a physical exam and take an oral history and ask the patient to describe any symptoms. This information will all be combined and correlated by the doctor -- putting all the pieces together -- to come up with the diagnosis.
In writing a radiology report, there is specific language that is used to describe the extent of a problem. When you see the words "mild" and "moderate," it indicates that some issue out of the ordinary is noted, and is worth keeping an eye on, but it is nothing that would require immediate treatment. Surgeons would not recommend surgery for a problem accessed as being mild or moderate.
Everything in your lumbar spine is noted as being normal, with the exception of the L4-L5 segment. At this level, there are some signs of arthritic type changes that are showing on the endplate, which is the edge of the vertebrae. There is a slight amount of narrowing of the disc space at this level, and there is a "moderate" disc herniation at this level as well.
[B]At L4-5, there is moderate midline disc herniation with moderate compression of the thecal sac and right lateral recess.[/B] The disc bulge is pressing into the thecal sac and right lateral recess, which could result in some nerve compression. This is the only stenotic issue noted in the report.
Everything else is "normal." Alignment is good. No compression fractures are found. The central canal is of normal size. (When it is smaller than normal, it can be a cause of stenosis.) The foramina are open ("widely patent"). The foramina are openings through which the spinal nerves exit the spine. They can also be a source for stenotic problems...but yours are normal and open...no nerve compression.
The impression is the area where the radiologist sums up his findings. You will see that it states there is moderate disc herniation at L4-L5.
There is nothing to indicate that discs are "blown out." If discs show black on MRI, it indicates they are losing their moisture and are drying out. Usually the report will refer to "disc dessication" which is not mentioned in your report.
Unless the spine specialist finds things on physical exam that are not showing up on the MRI, you should be able to treat your problems using conservative treatments -- probably some physical therapy and oral medications, perhaps a steroid injection if it is warranted.
Herniated discs can and do heal on their own without surgical intervention. The very small amount of stenosis that is mentioned shouldn't be causing you any major problems. If it were bad and compressing a nerve, it would be referred to as "severe."
Hope this helps. What type of doctor will you be seeing to find out the results of the MRI and what plan there is for treatment?