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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

It is not unusual to have pain that radiates down the leg, into the foot, hip and buttocks when there is a degenerative issue in the lower lumbar spinal segments.

A MRI that is several years old is of little use. Chances are good that this is the only relevant part of the findings: [B]There is a transitional vertebra at the lumbosacral junction will be referred to as the L5 vertebral body and the lowest moveable interspace will be referred to as L4-5.[/B]

This is a condition you were born with. Most people have five lumbar vertebra, with the segment that joins the sacral area referred to as L5-S1.

The lumbar vertebrae are single bones separated by discs that cushion the bones and provide movement between the bones so we can bend and twist.

The sacral vertebrae are not individual bones but are "fused" together and as a result, there is no movement in the sacral area.

A transitional vertebra at the lumbosacral junction has characteristics of both the lumbar and the sacral vertebrae. It usually doesn't cause a problem or cause pain but it is important for the doctor to know of its existence as it would look visually different and could cause a mistake in treatment if its existence was not known by the doctor.(The medical personel might assume your vertebrae run from L1 down through L5 with a disc between L5-S1 where in reality your last moveable disc is between L4-L5).

This is an oddity you were born with and it does not change with age. The other issues mentioned in the MRI may all be different now.

[B]Small far left lateral disc protrusion at L4-5 on the left.

You may or may not still have a bulging or protruding disc at L4-L5. Two years ago it was identified as small, and located on the left side.

Protruding or bulging discs can and do heal on their own, or it can become a "weakness" that eventually worsens with time and can rupture.

Unfortunately you won't know what is causing your pain until you have a new MRI.

In the meantime, let's assume it is the same disc that has become worse. There are a couple things you can try to at least try to keep things from getting worse. Avoid any activity where you bend or twist at the waist, reaching to the side or overhead, pushing, pulling and lifting anything heavier than about a gallon of milk.

There is a book that is available in many libraries written by a physio therapist from New Zealand that contains exercises that help to heal damaged discs. It is "Heal Your Back" by Robin McKenzie. He developed a system of evaluating and treating discs that is used by physical therapists all over the world. Many people have been able to resolve teir disc problems using his exercises. This might be something you could do to help yourself until you are able to get help from medical personel.

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