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Im 22 - Does this look like an L5-S1 bulging disc TOO? (MRI pics includ...
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Im 22 - Does this look like an L5-S1 bulging disc TOO? (MRI pics included)

Well I'm only 22 years old. Never had backpain in my life until I started working out heavily (doing squats/powercleans). It started on my birthday, as a tight hamstring, and escalted into a chronic condition which has immobilized me almost completely. I can only stand when I hunch my lower-spine/pelvis and I can't even sit up straight.

I find the most relief from pain when hunching forward and find it excruciating to extend my lumbar back into a straighter posture. I also find the most pain when trying to do an anterior tilt to extend my lumbar spine out of the hunch into straighter, more proper posture.

I have seen 3 doctors now including a spine surgeon specialist and have been diagnosed with:
-degenerative disc disease of the entire spine pretty much.
-an annular tear in L4-L5 disc.
-facet arthopathy
-and recently a bulging L4-L5 disc.

I've had 1 caudal epidural injection which didnt seem to help much and 1 facet block which didnt seem to help with the pain I have either. My pain feels like my disc is being crushed and is detached from the vetebra if that makes any sense?

The surgeon specialist did many new tests including a CT and bone density scan. He says the only thing found was the bulging disc previously mentioned and found by a previous doctor (L4-L5). He says he doesnt want to or recommend operating on me because I'm so young and suggests more PT and injections.

I, feeling hopeless, started looking through my most recent MRI images and think I also have found an L5-S1 bulging disc which seems to look worse than the diagnosed one at L4-L5. Can someone please look at these photos I have attached from my MRI and tell me if they agree? I have circled the bulges in red.

PLEASE SOMEONE HELP. I am SOO open to any advice and suggestions seeing as how the remainder of my life hinges on me finding relief somewhere!! I have many more MRI images I can provide if these are insufficient.
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Avatar f tn
I am sorry to hear that you are going through so much trouble with your back. I really strongly suggest that you take all your tests and try to find another md that specializes in your type of injury and get a second opinion. It really is too bad that the injections didnt work because they can offer a lot of relief. I have been in on many spine surgeries and know that they are risky, so you dont want to jump to that if you dont have too. How long has this been going on for? Have you tried an antiinflammatory? Are you resting your back? These kind of injuries can get slowly better over time as the inflammation goes down and the bulging disc releases compression on the nerve.  Good luck to you and hope you find another doctor that can help!
Avatar m tn
thanks for the encouragement! I've been dealing with this for over 9 months now. I've been on NSAIDs the whole time, on mobic 15mg a day now. The most recent surgical doctor I saw was my 4th opinion. It's strange tho, because of all the doctors I've been to, no one mention anything about L5-S1 until I did the other day at another injection.

I had a more localized foramen injection done at S1 where they finally claimed to me they think is my worst problem, beyond L4-L5. This epidural, albeit only yesterday, has helped more than others have. When the anesthetic needle was inserted into its place to numb, the pain I felt was VERY NEAR my plaguing backpain point. It was a relief to feel that they were close to the right spot. I am finally able to stand up a little straighter without it feeling like Im crushing something, but I still can fully extend my back unless I'm lying down. But I'm having another facet block done if 5 days, and the 2/3 injections back to S1 within 2 weeks.

O, and I've been so debilitated that I've done nothing but rest - that's all i can do - but unfortunately I've only been resting in super hunched over flexion because it is the only way I've found relief.

Thanks again for caring, and the words of encouragement. This is a crippling beast no one should have to battle. If these injections can't do what I need to function again in life, I'm think I'm going to look at LSI (Laser Spine Institute) minimal invasive procedures to create more space back there. Pray!!
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