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Old 01-10-2013, 07:51 AM   #1
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Can you help me understand my MRI results

Hi, I had a car accident on August 3rd 2012. A car rear ended mine when I was parked at a red light. I've suffered from severe lower back pain ever since and it's getting worse day by day. I have pain in my bottom, across my back, down my leg and into my left foot. I drive everyday to and from work and this kills me. I had an MRI on October 3rd and these are the results:

The alignment of thr lumbar vertebrae is normal. The vertebral heights are normal. Mild degenerative disc dehydration is seen in all lumbar discs. There is mild narrowing of L2/L3 disc. The remaining discs appear with normal heights. The marrow signal intensity is normal. The cord appears with normal signal intensity.

At L2/L3 there is a mild left paracentral disc herniation. It is not causing foraminal encroachment. There is minimal flattening of the thecal sac at this level but the AP diameter of the spinal canal is preserved.

Before the accident I was in great health and had visited the doctor for over 3 yrs. I am of slim build so no added weight.

Can someone please tell me what all of this means

 
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:36 PM   #2
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Re: Can you help me understand my MRI results

[QUOTE=Helen Louise;5115021]Hi, I had a car accident on August 3rd 2012. A car rear ended mine when I was parked at a red light. I've suffered from severe lower back pain ever since and it's getting worse day by day. I have pain in my bottom, across my back, down my leg and into my left foot. I drive everyday to and from work and this kills me. I had an MRI on October 3rd and these are the results:
The alignment of thr lumbar vertebrae is normal. The vertebral heights are normal. Mild degenerative disc dehydration is seen in all lumbar discs. There is mild narrowing of L2/L3 disc. The remaining discs appear with normal heights. The marrow signal intensity is normal. The cord appears with normal signal intensity. At L2/L3 there is a mild left paracentral disc herniation. It is not causing foraminal encroachment. There is minimal flattening of the thecal sac at this level but the AP diameter of the spinal canal is preserved.
Before the accident I was in great health and had visited the doctor for over 3 yrs. I am of slim build so no added weight.Can someone please tell me what all of this means[/QUOTE]



Hi helen louise, I have had workups by the neurosurgeon many times & the dr did a neurological exam while taking my history & reviewing the MRI films or disc. The neurosurgeon used the information from all three to decide on a treatment plan. The MRI is just one piece of the puzzle. You dont say what treatment you have received & I think if it were me I would get the opinion of at least two practice limited to the spine neurosurgeons or/and orthopedic spine specialist to do exam, review MRI & discuss your back pain & nerve symptoms because I think back surgery is mostly done to relieve nerve compression. I hope that after seeing spine specialist you can get a treatment plan that works for you! Take care, all the best to you.

 
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:56 PM   #3
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Re: Can you help me understand my MRI results

Your symptoms do not seem to match what is reported in the MRI. Your pain sounds like a typical pain pattern for "sciatic pain" which usually stems from the lower lumbar area. Issues with L2-L3 usually result in pain running from hip level to knee level on the inner side of the thigh. It does not involve pain that runs down into the foot or down the back of the leg.

It may be, since the MRI indicates very little wrong with your lumbar spine, that the impact of the crash has stretched ligaments and soft tissue, which is affecting the structural alignment and causing pain. This type of damage does not show up on imaging tests and can take a long time to heal.

I wish I had some tips to share with you, but I'm afraid you are one of those cases where you are in a lot of pain but the reason for it is not readily apparent. Have you been through a course of physical therapy?

 
Old 01-11-2013, 12:53 PM   #4
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Re: Can you help me understand my MRI results

thank you for your replies.

I live in Ireland and over here it takes a while to get an MRI so that why I
had to wait from August to October. I haven't had any help apart from pain relief and to be honest it's done nothing. At the moment I take Arcoxia and Solpadol but I have my 1st appointment with the Orthapaedic Consultant on Monday morning and I'm hoping I get to know what is wrong with me and how I'm going to get better. The pain goes into my bottom, up my bottom and down my leg it used to go as far as my calf but recently it's going straight to my foot. I'm deleterious with the pain and hate the fact that this car crash has made my life a misery

 
Old 01-11-2013, 01:23 PM   #5
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Re: Can you help me understand my MRI results

[QUOTE=Helen Louise;5115719]thank you for your replies.

I live in Ireland and over here it takes a while to get an MRI so that why I
had to wait from August to October. I haven't had any help apart from pain relief and to be honest it's done nothing. At the moment I take Arcoxia and Solpadol but I have my 1st appointment with the Orthapaedic Consultant on Monday morning and I'm hoping I get to know what is wrong with me and how I'm going to get better. The pain goes into my bottom, up my bottom and down my leg it used to go as far as my calf but recently it's going straight to my foot. I'm deleterious with the pain and hate the fact that this car crash has made my life a misery[/QUOTE]

Hi helen, I totally understand the shock when it becomes apparent that an event can change your life forever. Hopefully, it wont be forever but bit by bit improvement will start soon! Idk your medicines by name maybe stating the active ingredient i could relate. Is one a long acting anarcotic & the other short acting? I have read more than a couple of threads/posts about the wait time, shortages etc in countries that have national insurance & it makes me so nervous about the US starting a national plan! For years i had pain & the diagnosis was failed back surgery syndrome which meant to me that i was left with pain, abnormalities & more surgery would make me worse. My family nagged me to get new neurosurgeon & MRI. So I did & the result changed my life forever. The neurosurgeon told me i had a cruel condition that wrecks the nerves to my whole lower body & theres nothing to do but cover the pain, endure what ever happens next b/c no surgeon would or should touch me. So i do understand life being changed in a moment & i hope & pray that there is an end to your suffering! Im so sorry, life "is" fragile, handle with care surely applies, yes?All the best to you helenlouise.

Last edited by gmak; 01-11-2013 at 01:28 PM. Reason: wording

 
Old 01-11-2013, 01:31 PM   #6
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Re: Can you help me understand my MRI results

Hi, Arcoxia is an anti inflammatory and Solpadol is a pain reliever including Codeine.
I hope that I do get some answers from the Consultant on Monday.

 
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:42 AM   #7
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Re: Can you help me understand my MRI results

Hi I've just been to the Consultant and he's going to refer me for Steroid injection and Physio. He tells me I will be like this for a couple of years....I'm devastated that I have to be like this for 2 more years......damn car accident has knackered my back.....I can't take much more

 
Old 01-14-2013, 07:31 AM   #8
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Re: Can you help me understand my MRI results

Helen:

I know you said you were in "good" health before the accident. What most people don't realize is that you take the normal person off the street that is 18 or older and do an MRI on them, it is NOT uncommon to have findings of some "degenerative" changes within the spine. While you may not have had any symptoms does not mean that changes aren't occurring. It is just part of the aging process.

I have been on disability for 10 year, I am 59 years old now but worked as an Insurance Investigator and part of my job was investigaing and handling bodily injury claims from automobile accidents.

It is difficult to say whether the car accident was the cause of any your spine issues. There may be some correlation in that it did exacerbate problems that were already there. It is tough to say for sure.

did you say something about a "herniation". That MAy be causally related to the accident. Again the report seems to indicate "degenerative" meaning that you have had on going things in the spine but the symptoms just didnt appear till now.

Yes therapy is a good idea. As to injections some people have success with it; some dont. I have never had success with it. But you should do it with the hopes that it does give you some relief. It is best to go the conservative route rathen then jump into any type of surgery. surgery should be the last choice of treatment.

 
Old 01-16-2013, 09:12 AM   #9
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Re: Can you help me understand my MRI results

How does your doctor know you will be like that for the next couple of years?
Pain is either acute or chronic.

If pain persists more than 6 months than it's called chronic pain. That means pain never goes away and usually if it's car accident and you had a whiplash(I believe that's what you had, yes)than chances the pain is chronic. (for some people it goes away but the magic number is 6 months).

don't you have it already for 5 months. Let's wait another month and see.

My doctor told me if pain persists more than 6 months than it's chronic. I dont' know how they get this "magic" number, but that's what it is.

I am really sorry it happened to you. Cars as you see, are not such a good invention.

 
Old 01-16-2013, 12:19 PM   #10
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Re: Can you help me understand my MRI results

Hi,
A normal or near normal MRI now does not mean you did not suffer a serious injury. Unfortunately, my MRI's went from normal to severe spinal stenosis secondary to a herniation, multilevel foraminal stenosis and multilevel, bilateral facet disease. It took about three years after my car accident before I had my first surgery. The difficult part about having a near-normal MRI is the doctors do not know how to manage you. Don't give up. You may have to get temporary relief from epidurals, selective nerve blocks and of course- medications.
If you are in any pending law suit, don't settle too soon! That was my big mistake.
I hope you are able to get under the wings of a caring physician! Hang in there.
DRMVA

 
Old 01-16-2013, 02:19 PM   #11
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Re: Can you help me understand my MRI results

I am due to start my Physio and receive my first spinal injection in about 3 weeks. I've no idea how the doctor can say it will take 2 yrs. I have a Solicitor who is dealing with my case . The Consultants report will be received in around 4 weeks then he will assess my claim...I will definately not settle early I am due something for this pain. I really appreciate your words and will let you know how progress.


Thanks everyone xx

Last edited by Helen6090; 01-16-2013 at 03:18 PM.

 
Old 01-16-2013, 03:19 PM   #12
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Re: Can you help me understand my MRI results

Helen:

I worked in the insurane business for 20 plus years. I handled bodily injury claims from automobile accidents or from other types of accidents such as slips & falls etc.

So I constantly read MRI reports; evaluated claims for settlement based on the injury as to what the value of the case was worth and liability. Determining who was at fault for the accident.

You stated that your doctor mentioned it would take 2 years. I assmume you are referring to 2 years for you to progress back to a "normal" lifestyle. Meaning you should recover as best as possible within 2 years.

Normally when a doctor evaluates you and determines what your diagnosis is, he/she should have a good idea what the normal course of action would be for treatment; and how long it should normally take for a person to heal as much as possible back to "normal" or as much as possible. This is based on their experience and expertise. Doctors not only evaluate; diagnose and treat but they should have some clue as to the "long term prognosis." No it is not an exact science. Some people will recover sooner and some longer. But based on what your doctor sees he is giving you an "opinion" I wouldnt get overl concerned or upset by his evaluation. Time will tell how you as a person progresses. He is telling you what he thinks is normal based on the circumstances.

For now be concerned with getting the treatment that is necessary and hopefully you will heal a lot sooner then that.

Good luck

 
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:16 PM   #13
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Re: Can you help me understand my MRI results

I was talking to a friend of mine who also has a bad back. She had a spinal injection to relieve pain but unfortunately some of the liquid went to her brain and made her dizzy which stopped her driving for about 13 weeks. Is this common as I'm scared now and worried of this will happen to me

 
Old 01-20-2013, 02:54 PM   #14
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Re: Can you help me understand my MRI results

[QUOTE=Helen6090;5120165]I was talking to a friend of mine who also has a bad back. She had a spinal injection to relieve pain but unfortunately some of the liquid went to her brain and made her dizzy which stopped her driving for about 13 weeks. Is this common as I'm scared now and worried of this will happen to me[/QUOTE]


Hi helen, The way i understand the dr has you under x-ray while putting the needle in your epidural space & he puts the steroid & numbing medicine agaimst the dura which is a fibrous covering on your thecal sac & if he pushes the needle thru the dura now the medicine is intrathecal, inyour spinal fluid that flows thru your brain. When i had esi's this was a risk listed on the informed consent to surgery giving my permission to do the esi. However, i have had at least one intrathecal nerve block according to my medical record & i dont recall it being done. As far as i felt or know it was exactly like the esi.

 
Old 01-21-2013, 10:30 AM   #15
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Re: Can you help me understand my MRI results

I have had possibly 25 epidurals or nerve blocks over the last decade. I think they are great; but, unfortunately they give me benefit (reduced pain and increased productivity) for about 6-8 weeks only. I have never had a complication such as the unfortunate experience that your friend had. I'd encourage you to give the injections a try. The epidurals are more for pain relief. The nerve blocks can help with pain; but, can also be diagnostic, sometimes helping to isolate which level of the spine is causing the pain. I would encourage you to find a good procedural anesthesiologist who does multiple injections in a day. That would more likely ensure that the physician has good experience. Good luck!

 
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