Disc problems- lower back pain


Q: L2/L3-Diffuse disc bulge causing mild spinal canal and mild left neural foramina narrowing
L3/L4- Diffuse disc bulge causing mild bilateral neural foramina narrowing.
L4/L5-Diffuse disc bulge with ligamentum flavum hypertrophy causing moderate bilateral neural foramina narrowing with mild facetal arthropathy.
L5/S1- Diffuse disc bulge with a posterocentral annular fissure causing spinal canal and left neural foramina narrowing. Facets joints are hypertrophied.
Have cramps in my right calf with cramps. and have to sit and stand once a while. get some pain relief when I bend forward. what does this all mean?

Symptoms:  Lower back pain-with spasms. Have cramps in my right calf, and it feels like my leg is on fire and have to sit and stand once a while to get some pain relief when I bend forward- MRI Impressions -multilevel degenerative disc disease and posterocentral annular fissure at L5/S1

A:   Hello,
Thanks for contacting askthedoctor.com with your health concern.

It is evident from the MRI report that you are developed multilevel disc degenerative disease of the spine at lumbar vertebral level L2 to sacral vertebral level S1, causing narrowing of neural foramina ( through which spinal nerves arise)with bulging of ligamentum-flavum( ligament covering the spine indicating compression of vertebrae and disc prolapse) leading to compression of spinal nerves arising from the spinal cord at these levels of spine.
This manifests as numbness and often shooting pain in both the lower limbs causing stiffness and cramps . The pain is relieved especially on bending forward when the inter-discal space is increased and the compression is relieved removing the nerve compression which supplies the lower limbs.
The evidence of hypertrophy of faceted joints of vertebra indicate development of spondylo-arthropathic changes as well in the lumbo-sacral spine which presents as lower back stiffness and constant lower backache.
It is important that to prevent further compression changes and symptoms , you need to be started on physiotherapy soon and if required traction may have to be applied with a lower back brace to dis-allow the compression and further degeneration of vertebrae. The condition has to be viewed by a specialist to ascertain the course of management if it would require conservative or surgical management. A surgical management can be contemplated in form of Disc -Arthrodosis ( joining all affected vertebrae with metal screws at fixed distance to prevent compression) if the symptoms are constant and not relieved by exercises ( physiotherapy) and medications( in form of pain -killers).
I hope i have answered your query in detail,
wishing you pain free life,

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