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Lower back pain, nerve damage, joint arthritis, MRI showed degenerative disc disease, nerve conduction study abnormal. Treatment ?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
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For the past two years I have had severe low back pain - unrelated to an injury. Last year I had an MRI which showed degnerative disc disease and bulging discs. A nerve conductiion study done 2 mos ago showed nerve damage and radiculopathy at L4, 5. I had a follow up MRI last week which shows moderately severe bilateral facet joint arthritis. Isn't it unusual for it to develop to moderately severe in just one year? Shouldn't it have shown on last year's MRI? Does facet joint disease develop that quickly?
Posted Fri, 4 May 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar 7 hours later

Thank you for your question and sharing your thoughts with me.

Facet joint arthritis is a degenerative condition that develops over a period of time which causes back pain especially while extending your spine backwards.

I think that the previous MRI could already have shown facetal arthritis, but not documented in the report.

So to answer your question; it takes long time to develop moderately severe facet arthritis which causes back pain as well as irritation and compression of nerves, for which injections into the area can be tried and if still significantly painful surgical option would be the last step.

Hope I have answered your query. I will be available for your follow up queries if any.

Dr Krishna XXXXXXX
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