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Xray showed narrowing, pinched nerve?

  Hello and thanks in advance for your help.  You provide a great service here!  I have found out from my GP today that my spinal XRays showed a narrowing at my SI level?  I have had profound back pain that radiates down to my left ankle, and increases with sleeping on my firm mattress, prolonged sitting..I had posted a message here a few weeks ago titled persistant back pain.  I am 30 years old and have had bouts of "back strain" on the right side, ever since I had injured it 10 years ago in the army by lifting something too heavy...it has been simple to reinjure just by getting up the wrong way or lifting something light.  
  My GP has ordered an EMG nerve study as he believes that I have left sciatia(sp?), that means a pinched nerve right?  If I do have that, what does that mean as far as prognosis?  And does the term narrowing of the spine mean the same as a compressed disc, a herniated disc and/or a bulging disc?
  He has started me on a 12 day course of predisone, and Norflex for two weeks...until I have the EMG.  WIll and EMG show something that an MRI won't??
  Thanks Again,
Dear Julia,
EMG and MRI are two different tests addressing a similar issue.  The MRI
will give anatomical details of what is happening in your back.  It will
show herniated discs, canal stenosis and foramenal stenosis very well.  The
EMG is an eletrophysiological test to determine the integrity of function
of the nerves and muscles in the leg.  The EMG gives a functional assessment of the leg, and this should be impaired if you do indeed have
a disc or other stenosis.
Most cases of back and leg pain can be treated conservatively with good results, as your doctor is doing.  For example, most of a herniated disc is
comprised of water, and with time the body resorbs the water and the disc shrinks, taking pressure off the nerves.  Give it some time.  If your symptoms persist after a month or so, let your doctor know.  Beyond this, surgery may be considered, but one would need to see the MRI first.
Good luck.

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