Radiology/MRI Changes

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Question
I fell jamming myself into a corner and received an injury to my lower back.
I had an MRI done Feb, 2012 with these results:MRI on February 14, 2012, revealed no evidence of spondylolisthesis or scoliosis.  Disc desiccation was noted at L3-4 through L5-S1 and at L1-2 with minimal loss of disc height at each level.  
Other findings included minimal disc bulging at L4-5, mild circumferential disc bulging at L5-S1 with increased in the mild circumferential disc bulging at L5-S1 with increased in the left lateral
recess and left foraminal region suggesting an annular tear suggesting an annular tear.

Impression was rather mild spondylotic changes through the lumbar region with degeneration most pronounced at the L5-S1 and L4-5 facets and a suspected annular tear on the left at L5-S1.
Today my MRI results are as follows:  MRI of the lumbar spine demonstrate intvertebral disc desiccation at the levels of L3-L4, L4-L5, and L5-S1. There is a annular tear at the level L5-S1. L3-L4 Facet arthropathy results in bilateral mild neuroforaminal narrowing. The central canal is patent.  L4-L5 Broad based disc bulge in combination w/ facet arthropathy results in right nild and left mild-moderate neuroforaminal narrowing...Central canal is mildly narrowed. L5-S1 Broad based disc bulge in combination w/ facet arthropathy results in bilateral nild neuroforaminal narrowing...Central canal is mildly narrowed.  Impression: Multilevel lumbar spondylosis as above.
My question is....can you tell me if my injury has gotten better or worse...per the MRI.
I a still having severe pain in low back and also the leg/foot pain on bilateral and I am curious as to what the MRI shows in comparison.

Answer
Cheryl,

Firstly, I am very sorry for the delay in answering your question but this is my first opporunity to sit down and go through the question.

I am not sure if I will provide you with a satisfactory answer because interpretation of MRI of the lower back is somewhat subjective as to what is mentioned and to what degree and the meaning of all the findings on your lumbar MRI need to be referenced with your symptoms as they relate to specific nerves.  In general, however, the reports from both MRI describe fairly similiar findings put into different words.  There is some degeneration of different kind at several levels and your doctor should really do a careful exam to see where the pain may be coming from.  I would highly encourage you to visit a pain specialist who is usually an anesthesiolost who can do several tests and injections to see where the source of your pain originates.  None of the finding on MRI sound critical.

Hope this helps somewhat. Unfortunately back pain is a very complicated subject and needs to be closely correlated with specific pain and levels.

Michael K>

Radiology

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Michael K.

Expertise

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

Experience

12 year experience in the field of radiology

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

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

Education/Credentials
Board Certified in Diagnostic Radiology Additional Certificate of Qualification in Neuroradiology

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