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MRI results and specific exercises and stretches

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    Posted: Jun 10 2013 at 9:40am
Our user asked: "Hi there, Would someone mind helping me decipher what my MRI results at the bottom of this message means? I would be forever grateful to know what exercises and stretches to perform that would help as some aggravate it. Before I couldn't afford health insurance any longer I got an MRI done to figure out what was going on with my back. Unfortunately I got the results but didn't make it to the physical therapy as my insurance finished. I am an athlete and have rowed for 17 years and I love exercising. I have a long torso so bending over and picking things up has always put strain on my back. The pain is mostly in my lower right side of my lower back. I would love to be able to translate the results so I could know with confidence what exercises and stretches I could perform to hopefully improve. I know my core is not as strong as it should be but some stomach exercises and stretches aggravate the pain. MANY THANKS FOR YOUR HELP. Joseph Kennedy MRI Results: "Lumbar spine demonstrates maintenance of normal curvature, alignment, verterbral body height and marrow signal density. The conus medullaris demonstrates a normal taper at the L1 level. The L5-S1 level demonstrates disc desiccation/mild disc height loss and diffuse dorsal disc bulge of 2mm. L5-S1: Mild stenonsis of the bilateral subarticular recesses, spinal canal and bilateral neural foramina. Dorsal annulus comes in contact the course of the S1 nerve roots passing through the recesses. Mild effacement of the perineural fat about the foraminal exit zone of the L5 nerve roots. Minor facet arthrosis. No focal disc protrusion. L4-5: Capacious spinal canal and bilateral neural foramina. Unremarkable dorsal annulus. Minor facet arthrosis. L3-4: Capacious spinal canal and bilateral neural foramina. Unremarkable dorsal annulus and facets. L12-L1, L1-2 and L2-3: Levels appear normal. Conclusion: "L5-S1 mild stenosis of the spinal canal, neural foramina and subarticular recesses due to diffuse dorsal disc bulge of 2mm. Disc desiccation/mild disc height loss. Minor facet arthrosis"."
 
Ask a PT Response: "First of all, I was wondering how old you are? Also was wondering the cause/onset of this pain? Everything is mild in the MRI and doesn't pop out besides the disc bulge as far as something definitetively contributing to your pain. "L5-S1 mild stenosis of the spinal canal (stenosis = narrowing of the hole), neural foramina and subarticular recesses due to diffuse dorsal disc bulge of 2mm (Recesses are space at the sides of the spinal canal which are close to nerve roots - disc bulge may be close to the nerve roots and may cause irritation). Disc desiccation/mild disc height loss (discs shrinking). Minor facet arthrosis (arthritis)". Without physically examining you, I would not be able to recommend speficic exercises tailored to your issues. Strengthening your back, abdominals and hips will definitely be a good idea. For my patients that have disc issues, I would usually prescribe McKenzie exercises: http://www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/pain-relief-mckenzie-treatment. Again, without examining you, I would not be able to say that is your issue. If you are able to, perhaps you could see a PT for just the evaluation so that you could get a better idea of waht is going on. Best of luck to you."
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