Radiology/MRI results


Can you please explain these MRI results to me? I've asked my doctors what they mean and they refuse to tell me anything other than "you're fine" but I've been in severe pain for well over a year which is not "fine" to me. I have tried different pain medications, anti inflammatory medications and have done physical therapy twice, each with no relief.

L4-L5:  mild disc desiccation is present with a small left central to foraminal focal disc protrusion, resulting in mild left neuroforaminal narrowing and mild central stenosis of the canal, and contracting the traversing left L5 root

L5-S1:   mild disc desiccation is present with a small central focal disc protrusion resulting in mild central canal stenosis without touching the traversing roots. No neuroforaminal narrowing. Posterior elements intact. There is also a small focal annular fissure of the posterior annulus.

Hello P,

Sorry for a delay in replying.

Back pain is such a complex topic that it needs to be evaluate by several specialists to come up with some optimal way of treatment.  Indeed your MRI doesn't show anything significant. Small disc buldges (protrusions) do not appear to significantly affect the nerves.  Unless, you do have a specific radiculopathy in the area of Left L 5 nerve then potentailly that protrusion. There is a lot of "shop" talk in the report describing normal anatomy and pertinent but negative notes.

In fact back pain is the most common question I answer in this forum. You may want to read previous related answers.

I would also suggest seeing a pain specialist, usually an anesthesiologist that has a variety of  tools to find potentially causes for pain, be it disks, facet joints or nerves.

Please let me know if I can further assist you.

Hope this is somewhat helpful.



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Michael K.


Almost any kind of questions regarding any types of radiology exams, procedures, meaning of radiology reports etc...


12 year experience in the field of radiology

American Society of Neuroradiology, Senior Member Society of Pediatric Radiology, Active Member

Radiology Seminars in pediatric neurology American Journal of Roentgenology American Journal of Neuroradiology

Board Certified in Diagnostic Radiology Additional Certificate of Qualification in Neuroradiology

©2017 All rights reserved.