MRI Report Questions: Is it as bad as I think? Lower Lumbar problems

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How it began:

Flank pain started 3 months ago on lower right side. Protrusion under the skin on the lower right lumbar area, extreme pain. The pain is agonizing, it hits the lower flank, goes down my buttocks, and down my thigh reaching my knee.

No doctors believed me (I was at 5 different hospitals, 1 actually found at 13mm lesion on my left lung that kept me in for 4 days, diagnosis Valley Fever 1.5yrs of anti-fungal medication sad but nothing about the back), I was so frustrated I would cry each time they came in saying my CT-scan looked normal, x-ray looked normal, because I KNEW something was wrong and I knew that they thought I was a crazy woman who was just a hypochondriac. 

Then finally, a Dr. cared. My PCP called in a friend of hers to examine me as well. He literally prodded and poked at my back for a few seconds before saying 'she needs and MRI stat.' I had only ever heard a Dr. say stat on damn TV shows, it was interesting and kind of alarming, but mostly I just cried in relief, someone believed me.

After all that rambling (sorry, it's been a long frustrating and hair pulling out 3 months of trying to find out what's wrong) here is what the MRI report had to say-

Finding of MRI: 

Hypertrophy of the facets with foraminal narrowing L1-L4 and L5-S1


Straightening of the normal lumbar lordosis

I think I am understanding what this means but I just want other opinions who may have received this diagnosis. Is it as bad as it sounds? Oh and the kicker, I'm only 21 years old (not overweight, I stay very healthy, only water, exercising, etc. this is like a kick in the teeth from life). MRI report said the progression looks like that of a 60yr old patient. 

I'm not scared per say, (this is just the hand life has dealt me, I can work on it hopefully with pain management) just p*ssed off at all the other Drs who pushed me aside when it turns out something was actually wrong.

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  • Posted


    Sounds like you back is straighter than it should be, especially at your age. The other stuff seems linked to the straightening of your spine. If I'm not mistaken, lordosis tends to happen when the muscles in your back take all the weight and function off your spine and end up going into spasm and end up pretty stiff and solid. This in turn aggravates your spine/nerves/discs etc.

    Best advice, get moving, get a good Physio and take it slowly. Try some swimming to get the arm action to loosen off your muscles.

    Good luck

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    • Posted

      Hi Scott;  I am not sure if I am interpreting what you are trying to explain; however, Lordosis is the  inward curve of the Lumbar area of the Spine", which would cause lumbar pain if not correct in it's surposed curvature of lumbar region;  , especially if sitting at a desk for long periods of time, doing weights etc at gym.....

      ?Hypertrophy is a term used for "breakdown of body organs" / increased deterioration of a specified area/bones/muscles etc

      ?and Foraminal Narrowing is the the narrowing of the "needed space through which the nerves come down through our Spinal Cord"  in the said areas of your spine......this can affect the nerves that are encased in the spinal areas mentioned, pinching them, causing the pain that runs down your leg  (could be ??? a form of Sciatica).....hoping that this makes sense???   my brain matter is not working properly either at this moment (and am wondering should I delete and leave all alone) for the increased aging of your spine, yes to that too....when I first got my back results, mine were at the level of  a 70 yr old, at the age of yes, I guess it means you may need to get some advice from a physio like I did to get the right advice for exercises, and the opinion of a good Orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in backs?.......good luck...Bron

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    • Posted

      Lordosis can be caused by the muscles in the back being far too tight and not being used.

      I have/had lordosis of the lumbar spine to the point where the natural curvature was poker straight. This was caused by two issues. One has mentioned regarding with the muscles and the second due to Degenerative Disc Disease.

      Lordosis can be corrected with proper PT and hard work. Mines was corrected in part but not fully.

      I've also got narrowing of the spinal space hence why I have a numb left thigh and numb right foot. Again this can be assisted with surgery which helped me a little but not a lot.

      The last surgery I had 14 weeks ago, has hopefully corrected my lordosis but time will tell.

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