For so long now I’ve been trying to get an MRI, after my mobility vastly reduced over the past few years. Luckily my specialist consultant agreed, and asked my GP to get one done locally.
My GP told me it showed a few issues
- Limited marrow oedema (degeneration in the joint cartilage) in L2
- Moderate degenerative changes at L4/5 and L5/S1.
- Moderate sized disc bulge at L4/5 which along with ligamenta flava hypertrophy (enlarged connective tissue) caused by facet joint arthritis on both sides, which has resulted in acquired central canal narrowing (12mm instead of 16mm)
- L5/S1 moderate broad based disc bulge causing an indent in the thecal sac. This has reduced the central canal measurements from the expected 17mm, to 11mm.
- Synovial cysts are on both sides of the facet joints at L5/S1 level.
However, locally – I’m still getting nowhere. My GP referred me to a spinal surgeon to discuss this, but in my area we have a ‘spinal pathway’ – seemingly controlled my physiotherapists. Even having my results upfront, they still want a physiotherapist to carry out a physical assessment, which isn’t going to tell them anything!
After waiting eight weeks for this, I went back to my specialist consultant at the Royal Orthopedic Hospital, who agreed to refer me to a surgeon there, so I can actually discuss my options (if any).
But, it at least explains why I can’t walk far – both the spinal narrowing, and facet cysts would cause this issue and can’t be solved with the hand wave ‘just exercise more’ than doctors love.