After 17 weeks, an MRI

Cue drum roll.

It’s been a long 17 weeks of pain and head-scratching trying to figure out what to do with and how to get rid of this low-back, butt, leg, and hip pain. Not to mention the numbness in a few of my right toes. Minor detail. Finally, after countless visits to the acupuncturist, massage therapist, wonderful physical therapists (one: my own husband), the chiropractor and my general family doc, I got an MRI.

Here’s the best picture I could capture to share the findings:

L5-S1 Susie Duke flexitarian filly MRI results

What do you see?

What thing looks different from the others?

See all of the dark spaces with the floatie things? Those are discs, as I’m sure you well know.

Then see the last one? See how it’s just a space? No floatie thing.

As I understand it (in layman’s terms) the disc is “squirted out” / bulging. Squirted out sounds pretty good to me. That’s how it feels. You can see too how the squirted out disc is all smushed up into the white thing. Right, that’s not so good.

More technically-speaking this is what the results show:

(L = lumbar S = sacrum)

L1-2: unremarkable

L2-3: unremarkable

L3-4: unremarkable

L4-5: Mild broad-based disc protrusion. No significant foraminal or central canal stenosis.

L5-S1: Right paracentral and foraminal disc extrusion present (squirted out) measuring 15 mm transverse / 8 mm AP and measuring up to 22mm craniocaudal. This abuts and displaces the transiting S1 & S2 nerve roots at this level and likely represents an etiology of right-sided radicular symptoms. There is mild right lateral recess and foraminal stenosis. There is mild central canal stenosis. There is mild left foraminal and extra foraminal stenosis secondary to a mild left extra foraminal disc protrusion.

It would be nice to be unremarkable all around but that’s not the case here.

So what now?

There are options on all ends of the spectrum, from: “give it time” (because it could/should heal), all the way to “surgery.” Not sure what option is right. I’m seeking advice presently. Dr. Duke, resident PT, wonders why I’m not in more pain than I am because he says that should be “irritating.”  I don’t know why but I do know that it is very much irritating.

What about the piriformis? I still think it’s an issue and was possibly a partial culprit to why the disc squirted out in the first place. When I asked my PA why/how this happened she said sometimes a person will sneeze and their disc will bulge. This is certainly something that took lots of time to develop, over-training and over-use put me over the edge.

But it’s a beautiful day, the sun is shining, my garden is growing wonderfully, and I am remarkably not as irritated as the remarkable part of the picture shows that I should be. There are always those silver linings!




10 thoughts on “After 17 weeks, an MRI

  1. It’s good you have some more information. Good luck as you go forward (literally and figuratively). Your attitude is wonderful!

  2. Wow, thats crazy that you have such a back issue but not causing as much distress as they think it should. I’ve had back issues for the last few years from riding horses, and this definitely motivates me to figure out whats wrong! I hope you figure out what is the best course of action for you and you have a swift recovery!

    • I know. And I know this has been going on for a while. I remember being really, REALLY sore after some rides. I’m sure this disc was part of that soreness. The back is tricky business. And thanks, I hope for a swift recovery too.

  3. I’m thinking of you. The x-ray almost made me have back pains. I had severe back problems years ago….Kurt and Jane were both in diapers….and I know how that feels and hope I never have it again. That’s why I do back exercises! Hang in there…and see you soon Love, Janice


  4. Oh no! I literally gasped when I saw your X-ray! You’re pretty much a certified superwoman for continuing to not just survive, but thrive with such a serious condition! Keep your chin up, and take it one day at a time 🙂

    • Thanks, Katie. Neurosurgeons are trying to turn me into a triathlete! Been spending more time on the bike, and I need to get in the water but I do so every time quite begrudgingly. Need to learn to love that. Just can’t help but feel like I’m drowning every time. Anyway, it’ll heal! Eventually. Thanks ~Sus

  5. Pingback: The need for sweat and support | Flexitarian Filly

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