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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Re: Back pain
Nov 25, 2013
Welcome to the board.

Are you quoting directly from the MRI report? In other words, does it really say L5-L6 or does it say L5-S1? Most people have five lumbar vertebrae and then the sacral vertebrae begin. Some people have what amounts to an extra it is possible to have an extra lumbar vertebra....

The MRI report indicates that you have some signs of degenerative changes going on in your lower lumbar area. Spondylosis is a generalized term that indicates there is degeneration of the discs and often the facet joints. Often a doctor will just say "arthritis" in the spine. Some research points to some 85% of the population between 45 and 64 have at least one sign of spondylosis. It is extremely common as one ages, but not every person has pain associated with the degenerative changes.

Specifically, the report indicates a small bulging disc with an annular tear at L4-L5 --and at L5-L6 (?). The bulges are not large enough to cause a narrowing in the central canal or in the foramen at these levels. The foramen are openings located at the end of the vertebrae that allow the spinal nerves to pass out from the spine to other parts of the body. Sometimes an annular tear can be a source of pain. It does not compress a spinal nerve, but when it tears, there can be a chemical reaction that affects the nerve endings in the outer layer of the disc which can cause pain.

The arthritis changes can cause lower back pain. When you meet with your doctor, he/she will be able to go into more detail, check your physical symptoms against what the MRI indicates and come up for a plan of treatment.

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