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Posted in: Back pain.

Annular Tears

Started by Workingman on 12/15/2014 9:05pm

Several weeks ago I was walking up a set of stairs when I felt my lower back tense up and knew something was wrong. After several trips to my primary doctor then a specialist they scheduled an MRI. In the mean time I have been taking a cocktail of medications, 5mg of Diazapam, 50 mg Tramadol, 600 mg ibuprofen, 800 mg Metaxalone, and 10/325 Oxycodone ( Taken at night in place of the tramadol), and 2 different series of Prednisone.
Here is the results of the MRI:

INDICATION: sciatica


TECHNIQUE: MR imaging of the lumbar spine was performed with sagittal T1,
T2, STIR; axial T1, T2.



There is normal alignment of the lumbar spine. Vertebral body heights are
maintained. Marrow signal is normal.

The conus medullaris terminates at T12-L1. Signal and caliber of the distal
spinal cord are within normal limits.

The paraspinal soft tissues are within normal limits.

Lower thoracic spine: No herniation or stenosis.

L1-L2: No herniation or stenosis.

L2-L3: No herniation or stenosis.

L3-L4: No herniation or stenosis.

L4-L5: There is diminished signal intensity at the L4-L5 disc space. There
is posterior annular tear with a small central protrusion of disc. There is
no central stenosis. Neural foramina are patent.

L5-S1: There is slight diminished signal intensity in the disc space. There
is small posterior annular tear with a tiny central protrusion of the disc.
There is no central stenosis. Neural foramina are patent.


1. At L4-L5, there is posterior annular tear with a very small central
protrusion of the disc without evidence of stenosis.
2. At L5-S1, there is a small posterior annular tear with a tiny central
protrusion of the disc without evidence of central stenosis."

The specialist sent me to a Physical Therapist and kept me on the cocktail of medication. After 5 weeks there has been very little improvement in the pain level. The Physical Therapist has me doing 6 types of exercise twice daily. The pain and muscle spasms seem to be steady at a 6-7 level no matter on medication or not. He is sending me back to the specialist for further evaluation. Unfortunately I cannot get an appointment for another month at the specialist, and I have only 3 visits left to the Physical Therapist, with no pain relief in site. What kind of options are possibly available other than more pills and averaging 2 hours of sleep per night.

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1 Response


I'm not sure why you are being sent to a Physical Therapist unless to strengthen your core? Morphine is the only thing that helps me with the pain of L5-S1 annular tear, and Alprazolam to help me sleep. You may be in so much pain because some of the gel that belongs in the disc nucleus is escaping and irritating very sensitive nerves. Look up McKenzie exercises as this may help push that gel back where it belongs. Also, I would ask for Aqua or Pool Therapy to keep up your strength. I have been waiting 2 years to see a spine surgeon. "Give it more time; sometimes annular tears heal on their own." That's true, but 18 months of excruciating pain and morphine and absolutely no life, as I am basically bedridden. Wishing you the best, as this could be a long haul.