MRI results on back baffle me, can you help me understand please?

Hi all

I am relatively new to this site so apologise if I am posting in the wrong place.

I have had an MRI on my back and would appreciate if someone could help me understand the findings as my doctor has said all is ok.


The conus lies at T12-L1

At L3-L4 level: There is minimal posterior disc bulge with mild degenerative change of the facet joints but no evidence of nerve root or cauda equina compression. The disc height and hydration are preserved.

At L4-L5 level: There is moderate posterior broad-based disc bulge as well as degenerative change and hypertrophy of the facet joints and ligamentum flavum. There is subsequent narrowing of the lateral recesses and likely impingement on the traversing L5 nerve roots particularly on the right. The disc and hydration are preserved.

At L5-S1 level: There is disc dehydration, mild broad-based posterior disc bulge as well as mild degenerative change of facet joints but no evidence of neurological compromise.

Conclusion: Mild multilevel degenerative change as described above but possible impingement on the traversing L5 nerve root at the L4-L5 level.

This scan was taken last September and since then my pain has gotten much worse. I can barely move as my right knee has decided to stop bending correctly or allowing me to put weight on it. This happen in December when I fell and landed on my back, one of four falls since.

I am not sure if this is relevant but I am deficient in VitD at 11 nmol, B12 is low at 243 ng/l and deficient in folate at 2.5 ug/l.

All help understanding these findings would be greatly appreciated. I apologise if I have posted in the wrong place.

Thank you for taking up time to read my post.

2 Replies

  • As far as I can tell, there is no mention of osteoporosis or osteopenia in this MRI report but people usually have BDM assessments for that from DXA scanning.

    I don't know if anyone would be able to provide the sort of interpretation that you would like but there is information about degenerative discs, facet joints etc. on other forums on HU such as Pain Concern:

    You will also see quite a few posts there about particular vertebrae junctions and pairs such as those that you list: e.g., L4 L5, L5 S1 etc. You can read about people's symptoms that are associated with this (e.g., sciatica or leg pain is not unusual with some L5-S1 issues).

    The report mentions "likely impingement on the traversing L5 nerve roots particularly on the right" and that's sometimes associated with leg pain or sciatica. NHS Choices has some useful general information:

    I've no idea if any vertebra root impingements distinctively associated with knee pain but it seems as if that may be associated with the aftermath of your December fall and therefore not something that was necessarily present in the scan?

  • Thank you for your reply and links provided, it is very much appreciated.

    I thought this may be the wrong site to post so thank you for pointing me in the right direction. I will check out the details you have given me and repost in the pain concern.

    Thank you once again.