Lower back buttock pain mri normal

Hi I'm new to this forum. Just wondering if any of you are in the same boat. Ive had disc issues ie slipped/bulging disc since I was 16. Always l5 s1 Came and went for a few years but I had a clean break with no pain for about 5 years .

 For the past 2 months I've had pretty bad pain lower back hip and buttock. Pain on certain movements and sore to touch. Waaay worse in the evenings and at night.

  Had mri which was fairly normal. No explanation for pain. Report stated modest degeneration of disc small central bulge and annular tear . Mild hypertrophy on facet joints bilaterally.  No nerve impingement noted. 

Have had a physio session today which was pretty uncomfortable to say the least . Just wondered if any of you have same problem and found the cause? I'm also walking with a fairly noticeable limp.  




  • A bulging disc with an annular tear is NOT a normal MRI (as you state in the title of your thread).

    For some people annular tears hurt like mad and for others no pain. Not sure why this is. 

    At this point I’d ask your doctor if a discogram would be appropriate. 

    Based on the info you provided it wouldn’t be crazy to suggest that your pain could be discogenic in nature.

  • Thanks for your reply . I said normal because thats what he called it .. he said just normal wear and tear. I questioned him on the disc and he said because it' in the central cavity rather than bulging outward that it wouldn't cause any pain.

     So he basically told me to go to a physio and see what they say. So I went and it was quite painful . And today I obviously feel a hell of a lot worse but theyve given me no answers either.  

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  • MarWinMarWin OhioPosts: 654

    Wear and tear on a disc is never normal. At the least, it shouldn't be an acceptable response. To me that just says "there's nothing you can do, just deal with it". Au contraire mon ami. It is a fact that the aging effects of the vertebral discs can be reversed. I totally agree with @L4_L5 in that with bulges or herniations, some experience pain like mad, and others experience none. 

  • Maybe it' something to do with where peoples nerves or whatever are. Who knows. I'm 29 and hadn't planned on having  painful disc degeneration so early. My previous herniated disc pain however was completely different to this pain. This is a burning stiffness that runs from my lower right back down into my buttock and hip area. 

  • L4_L5LL4_L5 Posts: 1,137
    edited 01/05/2018 - 12:25 PM

    What you describe sure sounds like lumbar radiculopathy.

    That’s why I say it’s bull when they claim there’s nothing on your MRI that can potentially explain your pain.

    A disc bulge with a tear of the posterior annular fibers can absolutely cause radiculopathy.

    You probably should take your MRI to a neurologist or neurosurgeon and see if they agree with what that physio is telling you. 

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  • MarWinMarWin OhioPosts: 654

    Some of the same symptoms I had with sciatica

  • Thanks for all your replies. I can't get a referral to anyone until I at least complete a few sessions of physio first. Doc said that because the bulge and tear were small and in the centre that they wouldnt be causing my pain. He basically said i shouldnt have any pain and made me feel like I was overreacting. He also said nothing was touching any nerves and therefore wasn't a nerve issue just 'normal ' wear and tear and that anyone's mri would probably look the same at my age. 

  • My symptoms were successfully treated by a physical therapist. Yes the first session hurt like hell. It ended up being caused by a left forward shift of my pelvis aggravating the SI joint. Causes of these types of pain aren't always obvious. Yes doctors over focus on abnormal disc issues when they may have nothing to do with your pain.

  • A fairly decent way for a specialist to get a good idea if a disc issue is causing the pain is to refer to a dermatome map and if the areas/routes on the map match up with the applicable (problem) disc then it’s certainly probable a tear or herniation at that level is to blame. A neurologist can also use NCV/EMG.

  • Thanks again guys. I'm  seeing a different physio this week so I'll see what she has to say. After that I'll have to get back to my gp.  It' not an unbearable pain but it's an annoying one that's preventing me from doing normal day to day stuff and I'd like to know what it is so I can fix it. 

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