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HELP!!! - Disc bulge obliterates neural foramen?

BCarl65BBCarl65 Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Lower Back Pain
I am 26 years old and very active played college football and one day 2 months ago I severe pain in my lower back radiating down my right leg would not go away and this is what the MRI results said:

What does this mean?
Do I need surgery?
Will it kill the nerve if the impingement is not removed?

IMPRESSION: DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE WITH LARGE POSTEROLATERAL RIGHT DISC BULGE AT L5-S1 . THIS SIGNIFICANTLY IMPINGES THE EXITING NERVE ROOT AT THIS LEVEL. THE LEFT NEURAL FORAMEN AT LEVEL THIS IS CLEAR.

Findings by specific level:

L5-S1: There is mild disc interspace narrowing and disc dehydration.
There is a prominent posterolateral right disc bulge which obliterates
the right neural foramen with significant impingement upon the adjacent
exiting nerve root. Left neural foramen is clear. There is no
facet arthropathy.

L1-2: The disc is well hydrated and its height is well preserved.
There is no bulge or herniation of disc material seen. The neural
foramen are widely patent. The facet joints are unremarkable.

L2-3: The disc is well hydrated and its height is well preserved.
There is no bulge or herniation of disc material seen. The neural
foramen are widely patent. The facet joints are unremarkable.

L3-4: The disc is well hydrated and its height is well preserved.
There is no bulge or herniation of disc material seen. The neural
foramen are widely patent. The facet joints are unremarkable.

L4-5: The disc is well hydrated and its height is well preserved.
There is no bulge or herniation of disc material seen. The neural
foramen are widely patent. The facet joints are unremarkable.
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Comments

  • The radiologist puts what he sees, the Ortho or Neurosurgeon interprets it, because they have seen thousands of them. ;)
  • When is your follow up with your doctor? I have an entire fragment at L5/S1 compressing my S1 nerve root. That disc of mine is ugly! I'm surprised I get through the day, but that just goes to show you that MRI does not necessarily equate to pain level. I'm choosing not to go the surgery route. I'm trying to let it heal/resorb naturally, but it's not a quick recovery. Let us know what your doctor recommends. Good luck!
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  • kkubala said:
    When is your follow up with your doctor? I have an entire fragment at L5/S1 compressing my S1 nerve root. That disc of mine is ugly! I'm surprised I get through the day, but that just goes to show you that MRI does not necessarily equate to pain level. I'm choosing not to go the surgery route. I'm trying to let it heal/resorb naturally, but it's not a quick recovery. Let us know what your doctor recommends. Good luck!
    Mine was like yours. it ruptured and the piece looked like a guitar pick strumming on my sciatic nerve :S. Doctors thought it would be ground away in time, but alas it didn't. But I did the same thing and I would advise anybody go the non-surgical route as long as possible, I waited 6 years before I had surgery. 2 reasons why, one it might heal and go away, the longer you wait, the surgical options can get better technology. ;)
  • I have been in physical therapy for over a month now with no improvement, it has actually gotten worse. Although, I did get total relief from the pain from a Medtrol Dose Pack (methylprednisolone) the GP prescribed. This relief only lasted 2 days and then the pain came back with a vengeance. Is this a medication a person can be on long term to treat the pain?

    Anyways, thanks for the advice I really don’t like the fact that I have DDD at 26, it’s a scary thought. My follow up with the doctor is next Monday. I live in a small town in northern Montana, so access to good spine doctors is really limited. But, come this Monday I am going to make the 300 mile trek to see what I told is the best spine doc in the state. I really hope he has some good news for me or a least a good plan of attack to treat this injury.
  • As everyone as said here surgery is something none of us could tell you if you will need it or not. Only a trained professional can give you that advice.

    But on the good side you are quite young so conservative treatment will probably be your course of action. I hope you are no longer playing football or any other high impact endeavour.

    Also you should keep in mind that there are many people out there with backs that would look quite bad on an MRI and no pain and the reverse being true also. Pain is a big factor in whether surgery should be considered also.

    -js
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