Annular tears?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 428
   Posted 4/11/2009 12:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi all,

I just got a MRI report back, haven't seen anyone to go over this with. A couple of things have changed. It says "there are 2 left sided annular tears of both L3-4 and L4-5. It also says there has been on interval developement of a fracture, subluxation or large disc herniation. Does anyone know anything abouth what this means. Of course there's more to the report but that was the conclusion. It starts by saying "overall very similiar appearance to the lumbar spine with foraminal stenosis at most mild....which sounds good to me, but the tears and herniation?? That doesn't sound good.
Please does anyone have any idea what this means/ I realize a doctor needs to explain but I though till then. I am very concerned.
I don't get how they can say it looks the same in the same breath as the tears and "interval dvelopment of a fracture, sublaxtion or large disc herniation."
Sounds whoever read it was high--maybe it's me, but even whoever typed it maybe was typing someone elses?? It sounds ridiculous. Yet my MP supposedly looked and said also, looks the same. Are they even reading the reports? I am so disgusted. This is going on 4 years and all stupid answers, no answers just throw pills at you. I don't believe it.
BTW- I came off the ultram and it is an emotional roller coaster. Made me very emotional.
Thanks for any help if you ever heard of these phrases. I will ask for a specialist when I see my doctor, in fact maybe I can ask over the phone. I am tired of this, both my husband and I have been through too much.   


Swallow your pride, you will not die, it's not poison.- Bob Dylan 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3089
   Posted 4/12/2009 1:58 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Denim,

Sorry, I can't help you at all with reading your MRI. I don't have back issues myself (fortunately), so I am not very familiar with anything more than general, common problems. Do you have an appointment set up to see your doctor, or could you call him on the phone to talk to him about the results? Sometimes the terminology that medical professionals use just means a whole lot of nothing. I'm not saying that this is the case with you, I really have no idea & from my stand point, tears sound pretty serious, but I wouldn't jump to any conclusions before you have a doctor read the results. It sounds like the good thing, though, is that there hasn't been much negative change overall. I hope you can get some answers soon! I know how frustrating it can be waiting for those answers to come.

I also wanted to let you know that we are all here for you. It sounds like you have been going through a rough patch, coming off the ultram and all. Was it not helping? What are you doing now to manage your pain? I'm actually about to start the process of tapering off dilaudid, myself. It doesn't seem to be helping much (unfortunately, I seem to have an abnormally high tolerance to any & all pain medication and we've yet to find something helpful) & there is some (albeit very slight, but I rather know that my symptoms are the result of a medication rather than one of the horrific diseases that my docs are talking about) question that it is contributing to the neurological problems that I am now dealing with. It's never fun coming off of any medication, but at least if you do it under a doctor's guidance, they can advise you on how to make the transition the easiest. At least from my experience, I know that my body adjusts pretty easily to tapering, it's almost as if all the medication that I am taking just doesn't make it into my system. I hope your doctor can help you somewhat with the emotional roller coaster you are riding. Lean on us if you need to. You are amongst friends!


Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 428
   Posted 4/12/2009 7:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Skeye, I appreciate you caring enough to write back. I am surprised more people haven't anything to say about it.
I had heard of it, just didn't know much. I just figured until I got to a professional, someone would have had the experience ot tears and herniations and all that I mentioned.
Ultram does work well but I have read so many bad things about it plus it doesn't interact with most meds well--I decided it's time to get off of it. The biggest thing was reading that it caused more pain than what you had. 
I would like to get off of the other med I am on as well. I am really sick of taking pills.
Swallow your pride, you will not die, it's not poison.- Bob Dylan 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9090
   Posted 4/12/2009 7:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Denim!

I did some searching around to see if I could find some good pictures and explanations of annular tears. I hope these help you somewhat. Good luck with your doc appointment and let us know what happens...ok? It helps others who are reading this forum and may have the same problem.

I certainly do understand your concern about taking so many pills. I've been on pain medication for several years and would love to get off. Not sure how but maybe one day I can.

Co-Moderator Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums
Fibromyalgia, Ulcerative Colitis, Insulin dependent diabetic, PTSD, dermatitis herpetiformus, osteoarthritis and a few other side dishes.
Happiness is something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for."

White Beard
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3696
   Posted 4/12/2009 7:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Denim
I have scratching my head for hours over your post, and I have dug up my old nursing books and everything to try and find some thing I could tell you, but alas the only thing I can tell you ( and I have just done it and it works) is Google it. You will get all the information you want and it is valid. It will explain everything to you ever would want to know! Sorry it has taken so long, but I did not want say something that would have been wrong! I had a good idea on what it meant but I wanted to be sure.
Good Luck to you
White Beard
  I'm Retired USAF, went back to school and became an RN, and now am on full disalbility!--Degenerative Disc (affecting mostly the thorasic disc but all levels involved), C6/7 laminectomy/diskectomy& fusion, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!) Medications: Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV

Pete trips again!
Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1899
   Posted 4/12/2009 8:05 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Denim,
I'm sorry I haven't responded all day! I was watching the Masters and couln't look away from it! I just had a fusion done on my neck after having
2 MRI's that had lots of the same terms that your does. It looked like 4 of my disks were ruptured and a couple had annular tears also. There was stenois
everywhere and My pain Doc told
me it was a big emergency when he first saw the pictures and printed results. Then I went to see a orthopedic surgeon and he didn't seem to think
anything was a big deal and wanted me to have physical theropy. I didn't like that idea as I was in horrable pain and didn't want anyone screwing
around w/ my neck! So I looked on the internet for the best Neurosurgeon I could find in my areawith the University of Miami Medical School who did my surgery.
He told me it was a good thing I didn't have the phy. theropy as it could have done alot of damage to my nerves! So my conclusion was that my pain
Doc didn't know about MRI reports and the orthopedic guy almost put a big hurting on me with his interpitation of my MRI. What kind of Doctor are
you going to see? Be careful of what they tell you because I believe they don't all know what they are talking about!!!! They may know what they
specialize in but not MRI interpitations! Also, my surheon only fused two vertabrae not the tree he origionally said he was going to do. Mind you
that all 4 had descriptions like tears and ruptures and stenosis so I guess all those descriptions may vary greatly in severity??? Good luck and please
let us know how you make out!!!
Your Friend,
56 years old, Surgury, Radical Prostatectomy 8/20/03, PSA 6.6, Gleason 3 + 3 = 6, Adenocarcinoma extent (moderate) Stage & Margin:T2NOMX, No Metastases, Organ Confined, bone scan: Neg. 3 1/2 years of depression after surgery prior to Hypogonadizm DX, Testosterone Theropy> new 2/6/09> 400mg injections every 2weeks . 56 and so glad to still be here to see my two sons grow up to be fine young men. They are both serving in the US Navy, one on the aircraft carrier USS John Stennis in port in Japan and the other on a Gator Freighter USS Bataan stationed in Norfolk, Va. I am one proud PaPa! 

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 428
   Posted 4/13/2009 11:34 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you Chutz for going out of your way for me, that was very kind if you. I had heard of them before and thought someone here knew about it. I didn't want to put anyone out.
Thank you also White Beard, again I didn't want to put you out but I appreciate you reading and writing me.
And thank you Pete--the report is actually ridiculous to me. It says it's about the same as my last one from 2006--however I NEVER had tears, hernaiations, subluxation mentioned and in all these years--it will be 4 this July, the doctors I did see would say it didn't look bad but I had been in incredible pain. I am pretty upset over this. It's like I feel I can't find an intelligent mind to speak to. It just so happens as some know, my husband has been going through all sorts of problems. I need intelligent answersm the time is passing and no paychecks are coming in. I'm off the ultram and they say it can be weeks before you feel better. Heads up for anyone. It is a narcotic, it is addictive and leaves you depressed for I'm not sure how long but this isn't me. I have legitimate reasons to feel bad but this has left me feeling pretty down. I was always happy and funny. I do not feel that way right now. And Pete, my son is in the Navy too, another thing that hurts. We moved out west b/c they said he'd be stationed here but remained in the east. And he's my only son and I miss him like crazy.
My friend transcribes for the doctors for mri and tests, and she tells me that they will change their mind all the time plus the transcriber can write it up wrong or leave words and more out. I know I need someome to look at the films again and explain them to me. That's the other thing, I have to play doctor myself it seems and find the best doctors for me and my husband that our insurance covers. The help is getting lazier and I can't get a job but know I could do most any job an office.
Anyone know why to width of this page is extra long btw?

So thanks everyone for writing.
Swallow your pride, you will not die, it's not poison.- Bob Dylan 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3089
   Posted 4/13/2009 8:56 PM (GMT -6)   

Boy do I know what you mean about being sick of taking pills! I hate taking pills, any pills, and especially my
pain meds (and even more so because they haven't done much for me so far). I was thinking about it yesterday
when I was getting ready for Easter. I was getting all of my things together, and realized how I always have to
think about, do I have my pills with me? Instead of just cell phone, purse, car keys; it's always cell phone,
purse, car keys, pain medication. Ugh. Everyday I just wish I was normal. I can just dream on. Or even
better, accept it.


Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 428
   Posted 4/14/2009 12:25 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Skeye, I don't know all about you. But I am about ready to give up the morphine sulfate too. It's not that great. I would like to take the opportunity to tell anyone who chooses to listen that ultram is a terrible drug and they should be sued for passing it off as an non narcotic. But worse than that, comng off of it has the most horrible symptoms of depression that I ever experienced. I took it b/c I think I already said, it agreed with me and didn't bother me like percocet, coming down from it. For some reason my computer is having these sentences elongated and I can't see what I wrote. But God willing I want off of this too. I did the 15 mg one in November with no problem. I think I could do this too. I did ativian last year with rage feelings, but as soon as I was off I was fine. Ultram has been the worst! Good luck and I'll be here for you if you ever want to do it. I believe it's possible from what I've read and b/c I am a child of God's.
Swallow your pride, you will not die, it's not poison.- Bob Dylan 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3089
   Posted 4/14/2009 12:49 AM (GMT -6)   
I am in the process of coming of high doses of dilaudid at the moment. I haven't had a problem so far. Our goal is to re-evaluate both my pain
and my neurological symptoms at 1/2 of my original dosage & then go from there. We'll either decide to come off of it all the way (as I don't think
that it has been helping), switch to some alternative non-oral treatment, or start increasing again until we get to twice the starting dosage or
until the side effects don't make it worth continuing, or I FINALLY get some relief. I've come off of respectable doses oxycontin & oxycodone before,
and I didn't have any problems. But my doc lays out a nice slow schedule for me, although I have made several "large" jumps (relatively speaking) with both the oxycodone
and dilaudid (with my doc's okay) & I've still not had any significant side effects. I seem to be so resistant to pain medication, that it is almost as if
it doesn't effect my system at all, either positively or negatively. I have a very strange (and frustrating) body chemistry. I am either incredibly
sensitive to medications, or incredibly resistant to them. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground with me with most any type of medication, as well
as chinese herbs.


Let us know how things go once you talk things over with your doc!

Post Edited (skeye) : 4/13/2009 11:52:13 PM (GMT-6)

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