I finally had my MRI on my back (insurance snafu back in Dec, pushed it to January!), followed by my follow up with the back Dr.
MRI report -
Mild to moderate right convex scoliosis (14deg bend!) of the lumbar spine with apex at approximately L2. Partial disc desiccation at L4-L5 and L5-S1 and to a minimal degree at T12-L1 and L1-L2. Lost of disc height is mild to moderate at L4-L5 and mild at T12-L1 and L1-L2 (possible indication of arthritis!)
No abnormal paraspinal soft tissue mass (no cancer!!)
1. Right convex curvature of lumbar spine (how was this missed when I was growing up?!)
2. Mild multilevel degenerative changes, most prominent at L4-L5 and L5-S1. No high-grade spinal canal or neural foraminal stenosis.
Last May, my mom had lumbar surgery for a similar problem, but she had pretty much lost all the disc height due to arthritis. My dad has had rheumatoid arthritis since he was in high school, so finding out that my back is falling apart isn't that surprising. Awful, but not surprising.
The back Dr. recommended physical therapy (PT), annual check-ups to monitor the scoliosis (anything over 20deg is bad news), and return visits if the pain worsens. I like the PT idea, but I really don't want to be in pain and have to go back.
I work for a MD, PhD, so I had him look at my results and he recommended visiting my primary care physician and getting on a preventative treatment plan. Sounds great! He recommended a Dr in the clinic he visits that really focuses on preventative medicine. I have an appointment at the end of February!
On a side note - it is a one-stop-shop, so I can get my annual done then too! Sweet!!
Last Friday was my first visit with the PT.
After looking at my back, he said some of my problem is my posture. I am not using my lower abdominals, so my shoulders hunch forward and puts added pressure on my lower back. I am working on better posture and engaging my lower abs. He also "massaged" my right lower back and buttock, trying to work out the tightness that is causing some numbness down the back side of my right leg. It was painful! He also gave me some exercises to build up my obliques and buttock muscles. Basically, the lower part of my core is very weak! I am a little disappointed in my body, but happy that I am on a path to make things better. I don't want to have to deal with regular back pain or have surgery!
My next PT appointment is on Tuesday. I am looking forward to it:)