Tuesday, June 30, 2009

MRI Results on My Back

Man did I cause a stir by Twittering about the fact I was on my way to get an MRI last week. Nobody really knew and it was one of those "Hey I got you an appointment and it's like NOW" appointments. I have been struggling with radiating pain and general low back pain. It was getting pretty bad.

Now I'm used to dealing with back pain. Most people have no idea how I struggle, but I still continue to bike but not much else because of it. I can't take the pounding of running, basketball, and such sports anymore. As much as I want to, and no matter how much I love them, that part of my past is just that, my past.

I've already discussed my results with a couple of people who say that it helps them understand my pain. Stuff that without explanation would make no sense to me. The one that my wife caught was "moderate bilateral neuroforaminal stenosis" which she explained to me perfectly and I believe is what is causing most of my pain. You can read about it on WikiAnswers HERE. Another thought is possible early onset of arthritis in the area. Great news there.

I had a "tube" MRI a few years ago that came back with a diagnosis of a spondylolisthesis. You will notice that with this new "Open" MRI that I am not diagnosed with that anymore which is a good thing. Unfortunately, I'm still dealing with the pain, but hey, life goes on and you'd be lucky to ever hear me complain when I'm out riding unless it's really bad.

Anyhow, I'm releasing ALL my info here for you, the experts, to analyze and comment on. Now you can't tell me that you don't know EVERYTHING that's going on in my life.

MRI Lumbar Spine
Technique: Multispin echo study of the lumbar spine obtained with images acquired in the sagittal and axial planes.

Positioning: Sitting neurtral, flexion, extension and standing.

FINDINGS:
T12-L1: The intervertebral disc is normal in morphology and signal characteristics. No evidence of disc herniation or bulge.

L1-2, L2-3 and L3-4 demonstrate minimal degenerative changes anteriorly. The thecal sac is normal.

L4-5: There is desiccation of the intervertebral disc. There is a small centeral protrustion. There is minimal impingement on the thecal sac. No focal disc herniations. There is moderate impingement into the bilateral neural foramina. Mild retrolesthesis L4 on L5 noted with flexion.

L5-S1: The intervertebral disc is normal in morphology and signal characteristics. No evidence of disc herniation or bulge. There is bilateral spondylolysis of L5. There is no evidence of spondyloisthesis. No subluxation in the standing position. Moderate bilateral neuroforaminal stenosis.

The vertebral bodies are unremarkable. No evidence of fracture or dislocation. The vetrebral bodies and posterior elements are well aligned.

The cauda equine and conus medullaris are normal in morphology and signal characteristics. No intrathecal masses or fluid collections.

IMPRESSION:
Mild degenerative disc disease as described. Spondylolysis of L5 without evidence of spondylolisthesis.



There you have it. Comment away with what you know/think you know.

9 comments:

Hooterville Mayor said...

If I understand this, outside of your lovely brides ministrations there
Is nothing else that can be done? Bad news, but I guess it could be worse.
I cannot imagine being in pain that often.

Tez said...

I have that wonderful degenerative disk disease in my bottom three disks. When I was diagnosed, back in the early 90s the dr said keep pain pills and muscle relaxers in the medicine cabinet. UGH..I am not a fan of taking meds. I do keep pain meds in "stock" and have not taken any for back pain in a few years...knock on wood.

I had the numbness going down the leg and into the foot. Lots of PT that summer when my back was REALLY in a bad way. Meds, ice and stretching got it back..no pun intended!

When a person over does it, you feel it. Then there is the just bending over to pick something up that can mess it up which is never fun and unexpected.

Bottome line, don't over do and do your stretching. Of course I only stretch when I have a set-back!..typical patient!

Hang in there and take care of yourself!

Family said...

Interesting. I have not seen an MRI yet with flexion/extension/weight bearing. Very nice. There is a retrolesthesis at L4/L5 with flexion. That could explain why you've previously been diagnosed with a spondylolesthesis. L4 slipping back on L5 may appear as L5 slipping forward etc.

So, your pain could be coming from L4/5 or from L5/S1. If the disc is happy at L5/S1 (surprising) we would have to assume its truly bony foraminal stenosis. In that case, there isn't much to do except stay active.

It would be interesting to see how you responded to a few mechanical tests.

What time of day did they image you?

bikingbrady said...

I think they started everything about 10:45-11:00.

SD_pedalpower said...

So, you are saying your back hurts? I understood none of this gibberish but I am an idiot. Sorry, your back hurts.

Hipster said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hipster said...

Hey Kevin...as you know, when I came to USD I had already had the disc in L5/S1 removed in 1981 and my hip was fused to my spine. After that operation, I went back to mining underground at Homestake two years later with little ill effect and mined for 8 more years. As a matter of fact, I had more mobility after the surgery than before. That was long ago and surgery has improved greatly since then. I am just saying that should it get intolerable, there are alternatives to pain. Now, I have 4 additional compression fractures in my back and I still ride my Harley, mow the lawn, go fishing, and make love with gusto. I have degenerative disc disease and a bulge in my neck too. Life throws us curves and we have to learn to catch better, rest when we can, and go for the gold when we do feel good enough. Denise and I are praying for you and hope that the pain subsides. Best wishes to you and the family.

Your friend...
Hipster

Snakebite said...

Two words - medical marijuana!!!

TLF+ said...

No fun, BB. I'm just built in such a way that there is lots of compression. Targeted stretching is my best relief, but I'm afriad Snakebite might be on the right track as good Tequila seems to help me.

But you will be in my empathetic prayers this a.m.

Tim Fountain
Northern Plains Anglicans