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NeNe 03-24-2009 03:23 PM

MRI Results- What does it mean??
I just got back from my dr and was given the results of my MRI. I am just going to type the "Impression".

Lumbar Spine MRI -
1. Right L5-S1 posterolateral disc herniation abutting the right S1 nerve root as it exits from the thecal sac.
2. Left lateral disc protrusions at L3-L4 and L4-L5 impressing on their respective spinal nerves in the foramen.
3. Disc bulging and discogenic disease from L1-L2 through L5-S1

If I could get some sort of answers as to what this all means, I would REALLY appreciate it!!

Thank you!!

mmglobal 03-24-2009 04:47 PM


The problem with spine is that there is such a huge variation in what may be symptomatic from one person to the next. It sounds like you've got degenerative disc disc disease at all 5 lumbar levels, but everything you described could be completly asymptomatic, or some of it could be highly symptomatic. The info you posted is missing adjectives like mild, moderate, severe. I'm guessing that it's all mild because those descriptive words are missing.

If the ddd is significant at many levels, your options will be very limited. It really behooves you to take your time and learn about all your options and get to understand them all very well before you make a decision. What is the doctor suggesting at this point?

All the best,


NeNe 03-25-2009 05:36 PM


OK, this is what it said in the report, I am not sure if this is what you were talking about was missing...

At the L5-S1level there is a broad-based right posterolateral disc herniation abutting the right S1 nerve root as it exits from the thecal sac. Moderate left lateral disc protrusions at the L3-L4 and L4-L5 levels impressing on their respective spinal nerves in the foramen.
Moderate discogenic disease from levels L1-L2 through to

My dr has sent me for physiotherapy, I am waiting for them to call me with an appt. He also mentioned steroid shots in the back???? Not sure what he meant by that, but I don't know if I like the sound of it.

My symptoms are as follows:

Right sided low back, butt, leg pain down to my small toe, if I sit for too long my heel and outside of foot/toe goes numb, tingly.

I have intermittent left sided pain that shoots down to my left top of my foot to my big toe, numbess in the back of my left thigh.

I can only sit for 5-10 minutes before I have to stand or re-adjust myself, stand for 10 minutes, and walking some days is almost IMPOSSIBLE!!

I hope I have given enough info, if there is anything else I should mention please let me know.

Also, if there is ANY advice that someone might be able to give me about my situation, I WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE IT!!

I am completely LOST with all of this and SCARED!!


treefrog 03-25-2009 09:21 PM

Well, I can't tell you much about the MRI, but I can tell you about the steroid shots. They are also known as epidural steroid injections (ESI). They inject steroid at specific sites where there may be inflammation causing your pain. For some people they are like miracles and can reduce their pain for months. It is always worth trying, as there is no way to tell if they will help you or not.

When I had mine, I was told to take it easy for the remainder of the day. I heard from other people that it is best to pretty much spend the rest of the day in bed, so I did. No driving, I had to have someone come with me to the appointment to drive me home. It can help to put ice on the area of injection, on and off that day. You can go back to normal activity the next day.

It can take up to two weeks before you feel the full effects of the injection. So they usually have you come back 2-4 weeks after the injection.

You have to stop taking any NSAIDs (or anything that thins your blood), 5 days before the injection. There weren't any restrictions on eating (or anything else that I can remember) before having it done.

You should ask if they do the injection under fluoroscopy. This allows them to visualize exactly where to do the injection, and is much better than not having it, as the accuracy of the injection is important.

dshobbies 03-26-2009 12:08 AM


I'm sorry about your pain but it appears that your spine is in bad shape, thus your pain. Your symptoms are severe enough that surgery may be needed. Though it's always best to try non-invasive treatment, you may find the injections and therapy ineffective. I don't know how long a period of time your doctor wants you to remain in therapy but it's time to get another opinion.

You're in pain and your spine is not healthy. The right doctor can mean the difference between a successful remedy or not. Please call Mark to see if he knows of a doctor in your area.


NeNe 03-26-2009 12:33 AM


Thanks for you input. So, you said the dreadful 'S' word, SURGERY!! Ya think?? OMG!! How can all of this happen from a simple slip and fall on ice just 2 months ago. To think 4 months ago I was playing volleyball and skiing, and now it takes all my effort to walk my daughter to her bus stop. THIS IS CRAZY!!

I NEVER would have imagined the pain people go through with spinal injuries, I don't know how you all do it.

I appreciate all the insight and advice that has been given to me from all of you. I am happy to have found this site, just NOT happy to be needing the site.

Talk to you SOON!! All the best!!

mmglobal 03-26-2009 12:53 AM

This didn't happen from a fall... the DDD takes years to progress. The fall on ice is just what pushed you over the edge. Most likely, if it wasn't the fall... it would have been something else. So many people will attribute their problem to picking something up... getting the wrong physical therapist that made them do too much, a minor car accident, ect... the DDD takes years.

I sure miss volleyball!

All the best,


treefrog 03-26-2009 03:43 PM

Many surgeons also want to make sure you have tried at least 6 months of conservative treatment, before they will do surgery, unless there is an emergent situation that requires immediate surgery. PT, acupuncture, medication and injections are all considered conservative treatment.

But hopefully you won't have to wait too long to get some relief. I know that it has been much longer for me, though my pain is only moderate, and I have still been able to work (almost full time), though my social life is non-existent. But I wanted to try as much conservative treatment as possible before I even considered surgery.

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