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:
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)
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!