Re: Disc bulges at l1-l2 and l4-l5 with constant back pain.
MRIs do not diagnose an issue -- they just take a picture of what something looks like. One needs it correlated with the results of a physical exam, neurologic exam, and a description of symptoms. Almost everyone past their 20s will show a disc bulge...it is just a fact of living, and in many cases does not cause any pain and is asymptomatic.
The only reason to worry about a disc bulge is where it has an impact on a nerve. You will note that at L1-L2, the bulge is described as mild. This is on a scale that uses the following words: minimal, mild, moderate, severe. I would assume this disc bulge is not causing you any symptoms.
At L4-L5 however, there ay be some nerve involvement where the disc bulge is pushing out of its disc space into the layer of epidural fat...which is then pushing into the thecal sac. The thecal sac is a tough membrane that contains the spinal nerves -- the central canal. Since it contains the spinal nerves, any pressure on this sac can result in compression to the nerves, which you may sense as pain and/or muscle weakness.
The report does not indicate how large is the disc bulge...so it is hard to say how much this may be impacting the nerves.
While you are getting this disc to heal, try to avoid sitting for more than 45 minutes at a time.l Sitting puts 30% more pressure on the discs than standing or lying down. Avoid any activity that involves bending or twisting at the waist, reaching overhead or to the side, anything that would be rough, bouncing or jarring to the spine, and do not lift anything more than about 10 pounds.
Drink LOTS of water or other fluids. You can use an ice pack or a heating pad for pain relief. You should walk for exercise. The discs do not have a blood supply running through them. They depend on their nourishment from a transfer through the tissue of the vertebral endplates...so it is extra difficult for them to obtain nourishment. Walking is gentle enough that it doesn't impact the discs and yet it helps increase blood flow.
Another thing you can do for pain is to lie flat on the floor, with knees bent and feet flat on floor. Be sure your spine is in straight alignment. Place arms by your sides with palms facing up. Breathe deeply from the belly and relax.
When I have sciatic or back pain, I try to do this three times a day and have been known to find a quiet corner in an airport and I do it before getting on a plane. It is a natural form of traction and helps to unload the discs.
Finally many people have luck with the treatment found in a book by Robin McKenzie called "Heal Your Back." McKenzie developed a system of evaluation and treatment for disc issues...it is still used by physical therapists around the world. The key is in following the program as outlined in the book religiously.
It is possible to heal a bulging disc, but it can take time.