Re: Simplify MRI, please
Welcome to the board.
In general, the issues innumerated in the MRI report add up to spinal stenosis. Stenosis means narrowing...and it can occur in several different areas of the spine: in the central column where the spinal cord runs from leaving the brain down to the T12-L1 segment...and then after that point, spinal nerves bundle together the rest of the way down to where it branches into the legs. Your spinal cord appears normal as the report says. [B]The conus medullaris is normal in location at approximately T12-L1.
Now for what is probably causing your pain.
[B]There is a developmentally slender spinal canal with mild central stenosis at L2-L3, L3-L4, and L4-L5.[/B]
Stenosis can develop for a variety of reasons. Often the patient develops an arthritic type condition due to aging and normal wear and tear on the discs and facet joints. This causes bony overgrowths (osteophytes), thickening of ligaments and enlargement of joints. This can develop in the central canal and in the openings that allow the nerves to exit the spine at each vertebral level...the foramen.
You, on the other hand, were born with a "slender" spinal canal. In other words, you were born with a canal that just barely is wide enough to contain what needs to be contained within this space. At the segment beginning at the Lumbar 2 level and going down through the Lumbar 5, or the last lumbar vertebra, you are showing signs of central canal stenosis.
This can cause pain if the nerves become compressed from this lack of space.
At those same levels the neuroforamen are also beginning to get "clogged up." This causes less space for the nerves to pass through unimpeded. The report indicates this is mild at the L2-L3 and again at L5-S1, and is a little bit more at L4-L5. There are specific words in radiology language that are used to define "how bad" or "how much" a situation is: minimal, mild, moderate and severe. So you can see that you are just at the beginning of the amount of stenosis. Severe would mean there is almost no room for the nerves and it would probably require surgery to decompress the nerves.
All discs are of normal height and there are no bulges or herniations.
Generally with stenosis, the patient gets pain when standing or walking and feels relief when sitting. Often the patient gets relief when standing if they can lean slightly forward. This opens up the spinal canal a bit and gives the nerves a tad more room.
You can read about stenosis on the sister site to this forum: