Medical Specialty >> Orthopedics

Doctors Lounge - Orthopedics Answers

Back to Orthopedics Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Spinal problems and back pain

Question: Can a mild disc protrusion cause chronic pain?

 mrengles - Fri Oct 23, 2009 11:45 am


This is my first post. I have been searching the internet for answers to my back pain questions and this forum looked like a great place to find some solutions.

To start off I am a young guy only 27 years old. about a year ago I started having major sharp pains in my lower back, with stiffness in the muscles. (this happened after my wife and I moved from our apartment.) I'm a lacrosse player so pain can usually be walked off or easily ignored, but not this time. My general practitioner sent me to the local hospital for an MRI and and also to see an Orthopedic. Who recommended physical therapy. The therapy treatments seems to reduce the pain for a short time but keep coming back. (even doing the exercises at home, I have not been playing LAX.) The pain is no worse or less then when it first started. The orthopedic has also given me medications several times for my back skalactin, and flexiral (not at the same time). they don't work at all. I get the impression the doctor does not believe my back really hurts as bad as it does. i've been missing days at work (thank GOD its a family business.) Can someone please take a look at my MRI report from almost a year ago an explain to me what going on with my back in plain english. I've taken it apon myself to see a acupuncturist and chiropractor but still nothing.... this has been going on for months and months now and i'm just wasting my money and going crazy from the pain because I cant find relief.


Lumbar reticulopathy

L-spine MRI without gadolinium

T1, T2, PD, STIR sagittal, T1-T2 axial MR images lumbar spine

Findings; no compression fracture or suspicious marrow signal change.
No significant listhesis. L3-L4 and L5-S1 disc desiccation. Conus

L1-L2 level unremarkable.

L2-L3 mild flattening of the posterior disc margin without
significant disc herniation central canal or foraminal stenosis

L3 -4 focal right paracentral disc herniation, probable protrusion,
mildly effacing the ventral subarachnoid space and indenting the
thecal sac. No significant central stenosis. Patent neuroforamina

L4-L5 mild flattening of the posterior disc margin without
significant disc herniation central canal or foraminal stenosis

L5-S1 small central protrusion, no significant central or foraminal

1. L3-L4 focal right paracentral disc herniation probable protrusion,
without significant central stenosis.

PS: I forgot to mention I have also receive shots of Toradol in my buttox.

Can the above MRI be causing me this much pain? I keep hearing from both of my Doctors that the MRI does not look that bad.... Please help I cant take this anymore. what can I do?
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Sun Oct 25, 2009 7:56 pm

User avatar Hello,
I agree that the MRI report does not reveal too many problems. The main finding is a bulging disc at the L3/L4 lumbar (low back) level which is pressing slightly on nerve tissue.
Certainly, conservative treatment with mechanical traction and lumbar extension exercises for a month are indicated to reduce the disc.
I would also suggest an rigorous walking (not running) regimen - at least 120 minutes a week walking at a moderate to brisk pace. You should notice a difference in pain in two weeks.
If no change or worse with traction, lumbar extension and walking after two weeks, see a neurosurgeon.
Take care.

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us