So, I got my MRI results

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New Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/14/2009 4:20 PM (GMT -6)   
I had a MRI on Wednesday and the results came back, i need some help interperting these and what I should do next (surgery or anything else). The MRI says I have "Schmorl's nodes seen involving the end plates of inferior T5, superior-inferior T6 and inferior T7, T8, T10 and T11 levels as well as superior end plate of T12. Marrow signal demonstrates large amount of residual red marrow seen along the axial skeleton"  That was the diagnosis for the Thoracic spine.
The Lumbar spine report says " L4-5 demonstrates mild circumferential disc bulge withouth central canal stenosis or neural foraminal narrowing. Facet joints are normal."
L5-S1 demonstrates mild circumferential disc bulge withouth central canal stenosis or neural foraminal narrowing. Facet joints have mild effusion."
I have an appointment with a Orthopedic surgeon on Monday to see what I should do, and also to manage my pain.
Does anyone here know what I might have to do with the findings of my MRI and what does all that mean?  Thank You for your time

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1560
   Posted 2/14/2009 6:18 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Chris I'd like to welcome you to our growing group here on HW. It's sad to see that another has fallen to Chronic Pain and I can sympathize with you as I too suffer from CP as well. Unfortunately I cannot answer your question as I am not a doctor or a Surgeon nor do I have any medical training to be fit to read MRI's. I really can't say that anyone here can read your MRI for you as most of us here are CP patients and not doctors or surgeons. I would suggest seeing your surgeon to see what he suggests and if he thinks that surgery is your best option make sure you get a second opinion before going through surgery just to make sure that you are on the right path.

IMHO, now I must warn you that this is just MY opinion and might not be the opinions of anyone else here, I would (if your condition required surgery) seek out a neurosurgeon. This is only my preference because of the fact that I think they are better in the field of fusions. That is if your problem so requires this treatment. But....and there is a HUGE but there, I would make sure that you are 100% prepared for this type of surgery and that all other avenues have been exhausted before I were to go through this surgery.

I hope this made sense....if it didn't.....I am sooo sorry and let me know and I'll explain myself a little more clearly.

What doesn't kill us only makes us fight back harder! :P

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 2/14/2009 6:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Chris,
I think I remember your earier posts - but I'm not sure. I would have to agree with Scarred that we can't interpret the results for you, but I would suggest you spend some time before your appointment writing down questions you want to ask your doctor so YOU understand what's going on with your spine. Be polite but firm so that it's not just delivered to you in medicalese. And make sure you ask about all options, including non-surgical ones. I kind of lean toward neurosurgeons, too, although I'd say get a second opinion before having any back surgery.


Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 243
   Posted 2/14/2009 9:26 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm not a doctor, but I'd guess with all those Schmorl's nodes, you're about to be prescribed loads of anti-inflammatories.

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/14/2009 11:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you all for your responses/opinions, in the past I have done Physical Therapy & shots in my back. I would rather not go the surgical route since I am so young but the pt and shots have done no good for me in the past, and if pain medicine is the only other treatment they can do besides surgery I am fine with that but I don't want to take medicine for the rest of my life but if it helps me live better on a daily basis for now then I am fine with that. My doctor gave me a weeks worth of Tylenol 3 which helps a little bit but not so much with the breakthrough pain. Would it be unreasonable for me to ask the Orthopedic Surgeon for something stronger to help with the breakthrough pain when I go see him on Monday? I just want to live like a normal 25 year old. I just got fired from my job on friday for my attendance because it was hard for me to work and get out of bed in the morning with the pain. I just don't knoe what to do

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2317
   Posted 2/15/2009 12:18 AM (GMT -6)   
I sympathize with you about losing your job. I am 31 & just lost mine. My attendance was abysmal & though I did get to take advantage of FMLA protection since I had been there over a year, it eventually ran out and I went on unpaid leave, only to lose my position entirely when I was finally well enough to return to work.

It may be a long road, my friend, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. I have been battling myself with severe chronic pain for the past 6 years since I had surgery. I always thought I had tried it all, but as I kept at it I would continue to find new options that I hadn't yet tried. I'm not really sure what all's going on with you, but would encourage you to keep an open mind & try everything. Perhaps they can give you Mobic or something like that if you do need to be on NSAIDs long term? It is definitely better than Tylenol 3, in my opinion but check with your doc. I know that's helped me some in the past. If you need to be on narcs for now, don't worry about it too much. We're young, right? They come up with new treatments & medications every day so they are bound to find something better to help us out in the future. :)

Your ortho might be able to help you out short term, but I would really strongly suggest that you find yourself a good pain management specialist (PM). A PM can help you develop a good plan to treat your pain without using narcs, or using less narcs, or at least if there's nothing else to be done the PM can help to manage your meds probably much better than anyone else. Best wishes for your appointment on Monday. I sure hope they have something to offer you.


Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16796
   Posted 2/15/2009 11:07 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Chris from the looks of things you have bulging disc and many people have bulging disc and are not candidates for back surgery. Alot of us have these disc problems and never know it until we have some sort of trauma and undergo an MRI Scan. Its hard to know how big your bulges are since the radiologist did not bother to give the size of them. Hate it when they do that. Also, I have the Schmorls node, my dr says its a herniation that they do nothing about. Those are real common. Lets hope somewhere along the line your dr can find the proper care that gets all of your symptoms calmed down. You gotta keep in mind none of here are drs . Don't give up on finding the right care that gets your pain level down either.....Susie

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 2/15/2009 8:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Chris, I would suggest you take someone with you on the day of your Doctor's
appointment, in case you should miss hearing something, also I agree with the others
in having a list of all your questions, also ask for a copy of the results and if surgery is
brought up, then go and get a second or even third opinion...
Soft hugz and keep us posted as to what the doctor says..
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc, Fibromyalgia, Gerd, Enlarged Pituitary Gland
******** "We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world" from Helen Keller *********


New Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/16/2009 1:05 PM (GMT -6)   
Went today to the Orthopedic Surgeon today, he suggest sending me to a neurosurgeon to get an epidural shot? Don't really know what that is. In the mean time I am still in a lot of pain and the tylenol 3's don't really work for the amount of pain that I am in. My doctor wouldn't prescribe vicodin or anything of that sort before i got my mri but now he gave me tylenol 3 for my pain, should I ask him for something stronger? What am I to do. I don't want to live with this darn pain.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2317
   Posted 2/16/2009 2:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Neurosurgeon for an epidural? That kinda seems like overkill. It would be very costly plus they aren't likely to have much experience placing the needle. Don't you have any pain specialists in your area? Those would generally be anesthesiologists, who would be trained to work with needles.

You can google epidural injections to find out more, but basically they take a long needle & fill it with steriods and/or numbing medicine and inject it into the dura (the outer, protective covering of your spinal cord). They are usually done at the base of the spine (lower back). I would recommend getting it done under flouroscopy (type of live x-ray) b/c otherwise they can puncture your dura & you get the worst headache in the world that will only go away with another injection or two (called a "blood patch"). Epidurals do help a lot of people. They have helped me in the past. Usually they only last for a period of weeks or months, but sometimes they can be a permanent cure.

A pain specialist could also look into trying a different pain medicine for you. You can call your insurance company and ask them for a referral for a doctor in Pain Management if your PCP or Ortho can't recommend one.

take care,

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 489
   Posted 2/17/2009 4:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Chris it is not a good idea to straight out ask your DR. for stronger pain meds.Just tell him that the Tylenol 3 is not working very good for your pain then ask if there is any thing else you could do or try.A lot of DR. think you are just trying to get drugs if you straight out ask for them.Good luck.
Lost half of my small intestineJan.2008.Ilieostomy for 5 months then reverst in June 2008,Nerve damage to right leg,part of my right hip bone removed Jan. 2008,Cronic pain,hernia,infection in my back called discites,and depression.Gallbladder removed Nov,2008.Surgery to fuse L3 and L4 vertabra Dec. 31,2008.Mother to 9 kids 7 boys 2 girls and 1 stepson.4 grandsons,9 grandaughters.4 of my grandkids I inherited from my twin sister who passed away 6 1/2 years ago from a blood clot after surgery.God has given me my life back after I almost lost it.Even though its a painful and sometimes hard road to walk I take it one step at a time and give thanks to god for every step I take.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 2/18/2009 10:58 AM (GMT -6)   
I can't comment about your MRI findings but I can on epidurals. I am beginning to feel like a pincushion! :) I have received 2 epidurals in my Sacroiiliac joint (didn't do much and hurt like hades even with lidocaine) - this was performed by my pain management doctor under xray guidance. And then last year I received 3 epidurals in my neck for bulging discs - done by a neurologist, once again under xray guidance. I did real good with these and the relief lasted about 6 months. I just went in yesterday for another series of 3 epidurals and I did very well this time around. The epidurals in my neck didn't hurt in the least - maybe a bit of burning when the cortisteroid went in. But the epidurals can either work or they won't. Most people I know that has had these shots do very well.
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