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Suffering from back pain. MRI report showed l3/s1 disc is narrow and degenerate. What does this imply?

Nov 2013
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hi im a 34yo woman, i had an mri due to lower back, strong pain though the left leg and some minor numbness of the left leg, the report the doctor gave me seems to imply their should only be minimal pain if at all but i have at times had very strong pain especially in the leg.

the report says -
l1/2 discs are essentially normal other than minimal t11 disc protrusion centrally.
l2/3 disc demonstrates lightly decreased t2 signal in the nucleus pulposus consistent with some degenerative change within this but posterior contor is normal
l3/4 and l4/5 disc are essentially normal
l3/s1 disc is narrow and degenerate. disc annulus bulges slightly and there is an additioanl small central protrusion which indents the thecal sac with a slight left sided paracentral prominence, this may irritate or minimally compress the budding s1 nerve root but appears unlikey to affect any other neural structures.
some fatty endplate changes adjacent to the l5/s1 disc space
tiny haemangioma in the s3 vertebral body.

i had little to no pain at the time of the mri, so im wondering if the results show if there is an issue or if it is normal wear and i should not be experincing any strong ongoing pain.

i would appreciate it if you could help me to understand exactly what is happening and if i should be concerened about these results

Posted Sun, 2 Jun 2013 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Sudhir Kumar 1 hour later
Thank you for posting your query.

I have gone through your symptoms and MRI report, which are quite detailed.
I wish to reassure you that your MRI findings do not suggest any serious neurological disease.
The pain in the left leg is related to the disc prolapse at L5-S1 level, where the bulged disc is pressing on the lumbar nerve. Sometimes, there may not be accurate correlation between the degree of nerve compression on MRI and the severity of pain.
At this stage, you require pain medications (such as pregabalin or gabapentin capsules) and physical therapy. There is no need of surgery.

I hope it helps.
Please get back if you require any additional information.

Best wishes,

Dr Sudhir Kumar MD (Internal Medicine), DM (Neurology) XXXXXXX Consultant Neurologist
Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad,
My personal URL on this website:
My blog:
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