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Old 12-07-2012, 11:18 AM   #1
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Diagnosis: please comment

My MRI shows "drying up disc" at L4-5 which shows mild stenosis And mild to moderate left trace and right neural for animal narrowing, which I have no clue what that means. Also says (L4-5) combination of the central disc protrusion and a circumferential disc bulge measures up to 4mm. (Is that the drying up disc?) Also a 1mm disc bulge at L3-4. This causes nerve pressure down at the back of my leg near ankle. Dr. said I can refer you to a neurologist but there is really nothing you can do. You just have to live with it. Go to PT if you want. So basically, I need to pt and heat to help symptoms. I don't think I qualify for surgery at this point. Will my disc eventually shrivel down to nothing??? That's scary. I'm 47, doc says these things happen with age. I had prior bulging dusc that I actually healed with home care.

Last edited by Mommy47; 12-07-2012 at 11:35 AM. Reason: Forgot to include something

 
Old 12-07-2012, 11:37 AM   #2
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Re: Diagnosis: please comment

From what you have written, the amount of dessication at the L4-L5 disc is causing a minimal amount of stenosis. You don't indicate if the stenosis is in the central canal or in the foramen. Also, the disc bulge is very small and one would think you should be able to have it heal up on its own.

Discs are well over 90% "moisture" and it is a fact that as we age, the discs lose moisture. This comes from everyday wear and tear. It might continue to dry out or it may not flatten much further...time will tell.

Just so you understand the language radiologists use, things like stenosis, bulging discs, etc. are "ranked" using a series of adjectives: minimal, mild, moderate and severe. Very generally speaking, spine specialists do not begin thinking about the need for surgery until the problem reaches severe...and in some cases moderate. Prior to that, conservative measures will be tried first.

This, of course, does not rank the patient's pain! Sometimes a very small disc bulge can cause a great deal of pain, and conversely, a huge herniation may cause no symptoms at all -- it all depends on whether a spinal nerve is being irritated or compressed.

Sometimes a person will have a localized numbness in a part of a foot or ankle for a long time before it develops into a more normal sign of a back problem, such as a sciatic-type pain running down the back of the leg. Perhaps your MRI indicates some nerve compression, but you didn't mention it.

If you can find a physical therapist that is skilled in working with orthopedic cases, you may be able to heal your issues through building strength in your core and back, correcting any structural misalginments, etc. You will need to use oral medications, and other treatments like heat, ice, massage therapy etc. to deal with the pain while you are healing.

Last edited by teteri66; 12-07-2012 at 11:38 AM.

 
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:12 PM   #3
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Re: Diagnosis: please comment

It's in the canal, and It says there is facet disease and ligamentum flavin hypertrophy. There is mild spinal stenosis in the AP dimension of the spinal canal 6 mm there is mild to moderate left and trace right neural foraminal narrowing. Thank you so much for your explanation, in detail, it makes sense to me now. We are doing exactly what you said: pt and also working on core strength. Again, thanks so much!!

 
Old 12-13-2012, 09:16 AM   #4
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Re: Diagnosis: please comment

[QUOTE=teteri66;5100763]From what you have written, the amount of dessication at the L4-L5 disc is causing a minimal amount of stenosis. You don't indicate if the stenosis is in the central canal or in the foramen. Also, the disc bulge is very small and one would think you should be able to have it heal up on its own.

Discs are well over 90% "moisture" and it is a fact that as we age, the discs lose moisture. This comes from everyday wear and tear. It might continue to dry out or it may not flatten much further...time will tell.

Just so you understand the language radiologists use, things like stenosis, bulging discs, etc. are "ranked" using a series of adjectives: minimal, mild, moderate and severe. Very generally speaking, spine specialists do not begin thinking about the need for surgery until the problem reaches severe...and in some cases moderate. Prior to that, conservative measures will be tried first.

This, of course, does not rank the patient's pain! Sometimes a very small disc bulge can cause a great deal of pain, and conversely, a huge herniation may cause no symptoms at all -- it all depends on whether a spinal nerve is being irritated or compressed.

Sometimes a person will have a localized numbness in a part of a foot or ankle for a long time before it develops into a more normal sign of a back problem, such as a sciatic-type pain running down the back of the leg. Perhaps your MRI indicates some nerve compression, but you didn't mention it.

If you can find a physical therapist that is skilled in working with orthopedic cases, you may be able to heal your issues through building strength in your core and back, correcting any structural misalginments, etc. You will need to use oral medications, and other treatments like heat, ice, massage therapy etc. to deal with the pain while you are healing.[/QUOTE]
Teteri66, I added a little more to my diagnosis that may clear up what you were asking. I have gone a couple of weeks with less pain, only to be back at a high level if pain yesterday, and all night long. I haven't really been doing the pt as directed, and started back at cardio, lifted a baby, and moved a dryer, slid it across the floor. It has been 2 months since my onset of symptoms. I think I overdid it, and I surprised that its caused this much leg pain. I hope with PT I can get back to healing, and think I learned a lesson! Thanks for your info! It's a great guideline for what I need to do, and get back on track!!

 
Old 12-13-2012, 09:34 AM   #5
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Re: Diagnosis: please comment

Did you know that pushing and pulling are just as hard on the discs (and spine in general) as lifting something incorrectly or that is too heavy?

When you are in the process of trying to get a disc to heal, you have to be extra-super careful! I'm sure you've heard of someone who sneezed and a disc herniated...when a disc is weakened, it doesn't take much for it to progress to a herniation or even for the disc to rupture. You have to treat yourself like the princess and the pea and do little to nothing for a good six weeks. But it isn't good to "take to bed." You want to remain active, like walking for exercise, but you do not want any activity that involves bending or twisting at the waist, pushing, pulling, reaching up overhead or to the side, and don't lift anything more than about 10-15 pounds. Watch how heavy your bags of groceries are. Go to the store to get a "grabber" and use it to pick up anything you drop on the floor.

The biggest problem people have when trying to heal a disc injury is that as soon as the pain abates somewhat, they go right back to the activities that got them into trouble in the first place. You need to do the back and core exercises faithfully every day...and you need to think about every movement before you make it. It is a pain...but it is the only way to heal without surgical intervention.

 
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:57 AM   #6
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Re: Diagnosis: please comment

Teteri66:

Thank you for the reminder! I should pro t it put and post it on the fridge! I am sincere when I say that you have given the best, and most caring advice I have recieved from any doctor or physical therapist! I honestly appreciate it and feel you've been through it yourself. How are you feeling? Have you been through it as well?

 
Old 12-13-2012, 10:14 AM   #7
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Re: Diagnosis: please comment

[QUOTE=teteri66;5103717]Did you know that pushing and pulling are just as hard on the discs (and spine in general) as lifting something incorrectly or that is too heavy?

When you are in the process of trying to get a disc to heal, you have to be extra-super careful! I'm sure you've heard of someone who sneezed and a disc herniated...when a disc is weakened, it doesn't take much for it to progress to a herniation or even for the disc to rupture. You have to treat yourself like the princess and the pea and do little to nothing for a good six weeks. But it isn't good to "take to bed." You want to remain active, like walking for exercise, but you do not want any activity that involves bending or twisting at the waist, pushing, pulling, reaching up overhead or to the side, and don't lift anything more than about 10-15 pounds. Watch how heavy your bags of groceries are. Go to the store to get a "grabber" and use it to pick up anything you drop on the floor.

The biggest problem people have when trying to heal a disc injury is that as soon as the pain abates somewhat, they go right back to the activities that got them into trouble in the first place. You need to do the back and core exercises faithfully every day...and you need to think about every movement before you make it. It is a pain...but it is the only way to heal without surgical intervention.[/QUOTE]

Also, do you think caffeine can have an adverse affect on your recovery? It seems like every time I have caffeine, I end up

Last edited by Mommy47; 12-13-2012 at 10:40 AM. Reason: Wasn't finished, I end up in pain. It's weird!

 
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