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Trouble understanding MRI results...

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  • Trouble understanding MRI results...


    I recently had an MRI done at my local ER of my lumbar spine. I've been having lower back pain for about 2 - 2 1/2 months now and it got to the point where we had to call the ambulance to take me to the hospital because I couldn't walk. The first time they gave me some meds, said it was a strain and told me to go home. 2 days later I went back and they did the MRI at this time and gave me some medications that actually managed to give me some temporary relief, thankfully.

    Now, my real problem is understanding all of the medical terms that are used in the report. This is exact what the report says:

    Vertebral bodies show no significant height loss, malalignment, or edema.
    Disk desiccation at L4-L5 and L5-S1.
    No acute findings in the conus.
    Mild disk bulges at L4-L5 and L5-S1 without significant canal or foraminal stenosis. Mild bilateral facet degenerative changes.
    Remaining levels demonstrate no significant canal or forminal narrowing or disk herniation.

    I understand what they mean by the mild bulges and also where L4-5 and L5-S1 are. I also understand what the lack of herniation means, both of my parents have had back problems since I was very young. I guess the confusing parts are the terms "disk desiccation" and "mild bilateral facet degenerative changes."

    This isn't my first experience with back pain but it is my first with back pain so bad that for 2 days all I could do really was lie in bed and thank god that my mom was able to help me the 20 feet to the bathroom. I have contacted my doctor and have an appointment on July 10th, which I plan to keep but I was just seeking some answers/definitions in the meantime. I am currently taking both Sulindac and Flexeril (sp?) for the problem. I am on a list of other medications including interferon treatment for Hep C, which I do know can have some bearing on the muscle/joint pains but this is nothing like those pains that I've had.

    If there's anyone out there that can explain these things to me in somewhat simple terms, (I do know a little bit of medical terminology, my mother was an RN for 7-ish years), and maybe just kind of help me out with knowing what exactly is going on it would be greatly appreciated. I'm sorry if I posted this in the wrong area, but I figured this seemed the most fitting place.

    Thank you,

  • #2
    Alice, hopefully one of the nurses will chime in soon, welcome & good luck.


    • #3
      The physician who ordered the MRI or the doctor they referred you to for follow up is responsibile for going over the results with you and explaining it in terms you can understand. We cannot interpret films, MRIs, etc. here, nor give you a diagnosis.

      The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.