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Want help reading an MRI report. Have back and leg pain, numbness. Why is the nerve in leg bothering me?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
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Can u help me read an MRI report. I have tried to look up the terms but I still do not fully understand the report. Here is the info:
First here is a little history I am 36 year old female and I had back surgery in 02. After surgery I have had very few issues, until back in May when I fell off of a 4-5ft fence. I am an active person I ran a XXXXXXX - marathon at the beginning of May and had no issues. However, ever since I fell off the fence I have been having pain in my low back with radiating right leg pain and numbness. I can trace a line that is numb from the back of my thigh to the top of my calf and on the outer side of my right foot . I feel that my gait is off and my ankle feels odd. My back hurts less than my leg and it is more numb now then painful..depending on what I do. Driving or certain movement makes it worse and sends sharp pains down my leg. Running increases the numbness and I feel like my ankle/foot is not hitting the ground or pushing off right...if that makes sense. I have my MRI results and I have no clue what they say. It is not as painful as 02, but the leg pain and numbness since May is starting to annoy me. I would like to get back to running and other things. The Dr cannot give me a definite cause and to me the MRI say no “significant” impingement, so why is the nerve in my leg bothering me?…do I just go back to running and suck it up and go on ..will it go away by itself?
Here is the MRI :
Interpretation: No vertebral fractures or destructive bone marrow lesions and no spondylolysis. Straightening of the lumbar lordosis associated with lower lumbar disc degeneration. Consus medullarias terminates at T12-L1 level which is normal. There is normal midline sagittal central spinal canal dimension.
L5-S1: There is a right hemilaminectomy defect. There is marked desiccation of the disc and moderately sever narrowing of the disc space, 4 mm degenerative retrolisthesis and circumferential bulging disc and spondylotic spur complex. The central spinal canal is mildly narrowed. There is no definitive impingement of descending S1 nerve roots. Both foramina are mildly to moderately narrowed, without significant L5 ganglion impingement.
L4-L5: Moderated disc dehydration, minimal narrowing of disc space, 2 mm retrolisthesis and circumferential bulging disc annulus with posterior central annular fissure. Mild indentation of the ventral margin of the the cal sac without impingement of descending L5 nerve roots. There is no significant froaminal stenosis. Facet joint morphology is unremarkable.
L3-L4: Normal disc hydration and morphology.
L2-3: Minimal narrowing of posterior disc space. Mild decrease of central disc signal intensity. No sidnificant disc contour abnormality. There is a Schmori’s node of the inferior endplate of L2.
L1-2 & T12-L1: Normal disc hydration and morphology.
1.     At L5-S1, there has been right hemilaminectomy. There is marked disc degeneration with circumferential bulge and spondylotic spur. There is mild to moderate bilateral foraminal narrowing without significant impingement of L5 ganglia. There is mild central canal narrowing without significant impingement of descending S1 nerve roots.
2.     At L4-5, there is disc degeneration, 2 mm retrolisthesis and circumferential bulging disc annulus, without significant central stenosis or neural impingement.
3.     Subtle dehydration of L2-3 disc without significant disc contour abnormality.
Any help interpreting the results would be greatly appreciated. I tried looking up the deferent terms, but I swear it seems like the MRI report is written in a different language!
Posted Thu, 23 Aug 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 2 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
Your MRI report is suggestive of minimal degenerative changes in the spine related to your age. These changes are not producing any symptoms that you are having.
The disc dehydration, minimal disc degeneration and spondylottic spur are all age related changes and are not avoidable.
Your nerve related symptoms, shooting pains and altered sensations in the foot are likely to be related to posture.
You need to have methylcobalamin supplements for at least two weeks and do back strengthening exercises under the guidance of your physiotherapist.
Also, maintain a proper posture while working, sitting and standing. Keep your back straight. If you work for long hours on the computer, the following link will tell you the posture to maintain while working:
WWW.WWWW.WW You can continue running. These symptoms will subside in few weeks with appropriate supplements.
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Want help reading an MRI report. Have back and leg pain, numbness. Why is the nerve in leg bothering me? 36 minutes later
I have a appointment with my doctor next week. I will ask about B12... I have searched the internet seveal times and never seen anything on B12. I take a multi-vitamin and a B12 tab almost everyday. I have some obstacle runs that I want to enter and didnt want to waist the money if something was majorly wrong:) Thanks for the advice...I guess I am just confused since I didnt have the problem until I fell of the fence.
Thanks and have a blessed day,
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 15 minutes later
Thanks for writing again.
In such nerve problems, a high dose of methylcobalamin of upto 1500 mcg per day are needed. A multivitamin supplement does not provide with the adequate dose.
You can go ahead with obstacle runs as the symptoms you have are not indicative of any major disorder.
Hope my answer is helpful. Further queries are welcome.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you a trouble free speedy recovery.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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