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Old 06-19-2012, 04:18 PM   #1
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Unhappy Back pain MRI translation questions

Hello, I stumbled across this website today when I was looking for ways to decipher my MRI and xray reports. I was very impressed with the compassion and knowledge show on this board, so I had to join. Thank you for all the time and effort that goes into this website. If this is posted in the wrong place please move it for me.

My Dr. really didn't tell me much of anything today except that he wants me to go for pain management. He said I have 4 bulging discs and arthritis and that was pretty much it. So when I was checking out I asked for a copy of my results. There seems to be a lot more going on. Here goes I will just give what they wrote under the impressions. If any more info is needed please let me know.

Lumbar spine MRI-There is levoscoliosis corresponding with the xray finding. Impressions: Broad based annular bulge at L5-S1 contained within the the anterior apidual space. There is facet arthropathy and a 5 mm degenerative synovial cyst of the right facet joing extending into the neural foramina and abutting the dorals aspect of the ixiting right L5 nerve root. Minimal annular bulge with accompanying facet arthrosis at L4-L5 without impingement.

XRAY Lumbar spine-
Rotary levoscolios
Facet arthrosis L4-L5 and L5-S1 with foraminal narrowing

MRI Cervical Spine
Right paracentral disc bulge C5-C6 abutting with the right bentral lateral thecal sac.
Small right paracentral disc bulge C6-C7
Hemangioma at T2

Thats it, I am having alot of back pain from top to bottom, neck, shoulder and arm pain. My right leg hurts most of the time, it is very frustrating. Also headaches and a very hard time sleeping at nite.

I appreciate if someone can translate this into terms that can be understood. I wish my dr. would have explained a little more to me. I am glad that I asked for a copy of these results, I thought all I had were 4 bulging discs. Sounds like a lot more going on. I am supposed to be calling a pain management dr tomorrow to schedule an appt.

Thank you for your time! Hope everyone starts feeling better soon.

Debbie

 
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Old 06-19-2012, 05:45 PM   #2
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Re: Back pain MRI translation questions

You do have 4 bulging disks....2 in the neck and 2 in the lumbar. But none of them are posing any big problems with the possible exception of the one at C5-6. This disk has bulged backwards into the spinal canal and is hitting the membrane that covers the spinal cord(ventral thecal sac) but it is not touching the cord itself so that is very good. But it will need watching over the years.

In your lumbar spine, your main problem that is causing pain is facet arthrosis...basically arthritis of the facet joints....small joints that come off the back of the vertebra that stabilize twisting motions. Just like an arthritic knee gets fluid in it, so do the facet joints and one has developed a pouch of fluid that is hitting the nerves at L5-S1. These often go down by themselves and are best left alone unless the pressure is killing the nerves....yours aren't dying because they hurt. Dying nerves go numb....alive nerves hurt like he!!.

Going to pain management is about all you can do right now. Nothing is bad enough to warrant surgery. PT might help keep your spine strong and slow the degenerative process but once arthritis sets in, it's hard to stop.

I know you also posted on the Back board and my friend Teri will most likely give you a far more in depth idea of what is going on but from my perspective, you are in the early stages of a bad back. Sorry you are joining our little group.

Jenny

 
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Old 06-19-2012, 05:47 PM   #3
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Re: Back pain MRI translation questions

Could you be a little more specific about the arm and leg pain? Which sides, which parts of the arm/leg (outside, inside, etc), which fingers and/or toes (if not all)? Is the pain shooting, or more steady, sharp or more of an ache? What about non-pain symptoms... clumsiness, loss of dexterity, tingling, numbness?

What's the specialty of the doc who looked at the MRI and sent you for pain management?

Last edited by WebDozer; 06-19-2012 at 05:49 PM.

 
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Old 06-19-2012, 06:14 PM   #4
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Re: Back pain MRI translation questions

Thank you so much for your response, it does help ease my mind with understanding better exactly what all that stuff means.

 
Old 06-19-2012, 06:21 PM   #5
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Re: Back pain MRI translation questions

The pain is mostly my right side, pain in the shoulder blade (sharp ache, feels like it i under the blade) comes and goes through out the day depending on what I am doing. Neck pain (goes down between shoulder blades) is a constant ache, especially when looking down for a period of time. Especially at work since I am on a computer all day. The leg pain is my right leg, shooting pain down my leg that makes it go out on me sometimes. Also my right buttock and in the dimple part on my lower back on the right. If I have been sitting to long I will sometimes have a hard time getting up. I also get pain in my middle back, but that is like a dull ache that comes and goes. I get numbness and tingling in my right hand and elbow. Lots of headaches.

The Dr. that read my MRI was the dr. at the MRI clinic. It was my family dr. that sent me for the MRI and is sending me to the pain management dr.

I really appreciate your and Jenny's time with this. Thank you so much!

 
Old 06-19-2012, 07:12 PM   #6
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Re: Back pain MRI translation questions

I asked about specifics because we see a lot of radiologist's reports that don't seem to match, or at least justify, the symptoms. Radiologists aren't perfect, and they may have idiosyncratic approaches to writing up their reports. One may miss something that another sees. One may see a problem and call it "severe", while another may see the same thing and call it "moderate".

I'm of the belief that spine surgeons are somewhat better than radiologists - on the whole - at reading spinal MRI's. After all, they specialize in spines, while radiologists are unlikely to. Also, they're the ones that HAVE to read the MRI's right, while the radiologists know that surgeons will be double-checking their work before any surgery is done. In fact, I have had two surgeons tell me that they don't even read the radiologists' reports.

Thus, my question about the specialty of the ordering doc. If I were in your shoes, I'd really want a surgeon to read the report, and the best surgeon I could find.

As for your specific symptoms/problems, it sure looks like your worst problem is with the right L5 nerve. You could look up the dermatome for L5, and read about specific symptoms of L5 impingement. As for surgery for L5 impingement, I'm sure there are options, but I'm not nearly as familiar with them as I would be with cervical surgeries.

I suppose your doc is sending you for PT, too? That's what I would expect. Besides the exercises that the PT will teach you, you need to work on your sitting... what to sit in, how to sit in it, how long to sit, how to set up your computer keyboard and monitor.

I don't see anything much of note in the cervical MRI. Your shoulder/neck problems may be due more to sitting too long, and doing so "incorrectly". Once again, I would want a backup opinion about the MRI from a spine specialist.

Your hand symptoms MIGHT be due to a nerve being pinched as it passes through the elbow or wrist. Is the tingling/numbness specific to any particular digits?

Last edited by WebDozer; 06-19-2012 at 07:14 PM.

 
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Old 06-20-2012, 04:18 AM   #7
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Re: Back pain MRI translation questions

Thank you for the explanation. My dr. didn't say anything about PT, I will make an appt with the pain management and see what they say about the MRI. I will also look into a spinal surgeon here. I do know of a good one here, a friend has been seeing him for yrs and loves him. So I will talk to her.

Thank you for the time taken to explain all this to me. Have a great day!

 
Old 06-21-2012, 03:36 PM   #8
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Re: Back pain MRI translation questions

Thank you. After speaking with my husband we have decided to take your advice and look into a spinal surgeon. My husband's thinking is whatever it takes. Thank you again, I will let you know how it progresses.

 
Old 07-18-2012, 09:38 AM   #9
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Re: Back pain MRI translation questions

Hello, I hope everyone is doing well today.

I finally was able to see the Ortho Doctor this morning. He did not seem very concerned about my bulging discs, just keep monitoring them. He gave me a brace for my neck, he feels that what is happening there is that I keep pinching nerves in my neck when I am sleeping. So he advised that I wear the brace at night while sleeping to help with that.

His concern was that he says I show all the classic symptoms of Sacroiilitis. I have not had a chance yet to research and see exactly what that means. But he is recommending PT 3X a week for 4 wks. Then a follow up in 6 wks. He also put me on Volatren, I am not sure if I have the spelling right.

So my question is, is anyone familiar with this?

Thank you for your time!!

Debbie

 
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