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MRI results
An_254684 posted:
To keep this short, I have been suffering from cervical and lumbar pain for 20+ years. I have been diagnosed with severe cervical issues which I completely understand. I have recently gone for my 3rd lumbar MRI since 2007. The first two, I was told, were normal. The 3rd one, I was told last week, showed nothing and was normal. I was practically in tears because I was actually hoping the test showed SOMETHING/ANYTHING. I requested a copy of the MRI findings and in addition to many normal things, it is stating the following:
a small Tarlov cyst
T11/T12 1mm grade 1 retrolisthesis with small disc protrusion with no stenosis
L1/L2 1 mm grade 1 retrolisthesis with small disc bulge with no stenosis
L2/L3 2mm grade 1 retrolisthesis with small broad based disc portrusion without stenosis. minimal to moderate facet hypertrophic changes
L3/L4 1 mm grade 1 retrolisthesis with broad based disc protrusion ....with annular fissure.minimal to moderate left neural foraminal stenosis. abutment of L3 nerve root.minimal to moderate facet hypertrophic changes present. minimal central canal stenosis.
L4/L5 1 mm grade 1 retrolisthesis with small broad based disc protrusion. may be abutment of L4 nerve roots. minimal facet hypertrophic changes/ligamentum flavum hypertrophy present. minimal central canal stenosis present. Abutment of left L5 nerve root.

To me, from what I have researched myself, none of these are extremely serious. However, I do believe that all of these can certainly be causing me the pain I have been experiencing. I am wrong to feel that the doctor was inappropriate in not going over these items with me item by item but just walked into the room and stated that the MRI was NORMAL. To me, it was not normal and definately contributes to my pain.

thanks for your help and opinions!
davedsel responded:
Hello and welcome.

While some doctors may consider your spinal issues to be a "normal" part of aging, other doctors would not. While the conditions may seem minor, they can all work together to cause severe pain. Pain is very subjective and unique to each person. These conditions may cause no or little pain for some, others such as yourself may be suffering. Personally, I would not consider these results to be "normal" and can fully understand why you are in pain.

IMHO, you should change doctors if at all possible. The best doctor to see for spine problems is a spinal orthopedic surgeon or a spinal neurosurgeon. Surgery should always be a last recourse, but these specialists are the best for diagnosing and developing affective treatment plans. You would also benefit by seeing a pain management specialist that is a physiatrist. These doctors go deeper and offer a wide variety of pain management techniques.

For some further information, here is a link to the MRI page at
This offers a good explanation of all the terms used.

Please keep us updated and feel free to post often with questions or just to vent. We understand.

I pray you can find ways for pain relief soon.
Click on my username or avatar picture to read my story.


pmw8822 replied to davedsel's response:
Thanks much for your input! I will be checking out the link you provided and will be searching for a new doctor. Have a good day.

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