Did you recently go through an MRI for a bulging disc? If so, you might want to know how to interpret the results.
One thing about understanding an MRI diagnosis is that it’s like an alphabet soup of medical terms. Even so, it helps to learn to decode it.
So, how does it go? Here’s a look at how to decipher a bulging disc MRI.
Table of Contents
How to Decode Disc MRI Results
There are a few things you want to take note of when you try to understand your MRI results. It generally focuses on the following points:
Identify the Location
The first thing you should consider before you conclude is the location of the bulging disc. Usually, the results carefully pinpoint the exact location.
In most cases, you might find it in your lower back, middle back, or neck. This way, you can determine if the symptoms you experience line up with where it is.
Determine the Severity
Next to the location, you want to identify the severity of the bulge. The MRI report will include whether it’s mild, moderate, or severe. If you see these phrases, it indicates how bad the bulge is.
If it’s mild, the disc is just starting to push out. But when it says severe, it means the disc is sticking out and could be pressing on a nerve.
If your results mention you have an annular tear, it means the outer layer of your disc is torn.
Another term you could find is a herniated disc, usually indicating something more severe. This refers to an advanced stage of a bulging disc where the inner material starts leaking out.
Some might also include the term stenosis or the medical way of saying narrowing. In this case, the bulging disc can constrict the spinal canal, putting pressure on the cord and nerves that pass through it.
Common Disc Issues Interpretation
When decoding MRI findings, you want to be sure you know the possible issues that it implies. Here are some of the common cases that can come up:
One of the most common issues caused by a bulging disc is nerve compression. When this happens, it causes symptoms like pain, numbness, or weakness in the affected area.
You can check out the Advanced Pain Institute of Texas to see how to aid it.
Another issue is spinal instability, which refers to the abnormal movement or alignment of the vertebrae in the spine. When a disc bulge is severe, it can lead to spondylolisthesis, which is a disruption to normal spinal alignment.
This can result in various symptoms like back pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the misalignment and relieve the symptoms.
Disc MRI results can effectively spot and evaluate inflammation around it. This can happen as a response to the disc bulge or even indicate an underlying condition, like an infection or autoimmune disease.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Depending on the technology used, it could identify degenerative disc disease, which occurs when the discs in the spine wear down over time. This can lead to chronic pain and even bulging or herniated discs.
Understand Your Bulging Disc MRI Here
Decoding a bulging disc MRI is more complex than it seems, so it’s best to have a professional do it. Even so, understanding it gives you an idea of your condition and helps you set expectations and seek the right treatments.
Check out the rest of our blog to learn more about it.