!st I'll give you a list of terms, so you'll understand what the report's talking about.
Disc Bulge: General pushing out of a spinal disc, extending the disc from its normal position. Considered a normal occurrence with age.
Broad Disc Bulge: The term “broad based” simply refers to the size of the actual bulge or herniation. When the size of the herniation is 25% to 50% of the total disc circumference, the disc is called broad based.
Disc Protrusion: is a herniated disc in which the disc tissue has protruded beyond the disc space but is contained within intact annulus. In other words it hasn’t ruptured.
Degenerative Disc Disease: is not really a disease but a term used to describe the normal changes in your spinal discs as you age.
Spondylosis: also known as spinal osteoarthritis is a common degenerative joint disease that is due to aging and time related wear and tear on the vertebrae (bones) of the neck and back.
Spinal Canal Stenosis: The spinal canal is the space inside the lower spine that carries nerves to the various parts of your body. It’s narrow, over time bone and tissue around it can narrow it further. This narrowing is called stenosis. Some things that can cause it are disc bulges/herniations bone spurs/arthritis and ligament thickening.
Facet joints: Joints of the spine that connect all of the vertebrae and allow coordinated movement of the vertebral column.
Facet arthritis: Degeneration of facet joint cartilage and hypertrophy of the bone forming the joint.
Foraminal Stenosis: At every level of the spine the nerves will exit through a small canal. This canal is called the foramen or foraminal canal. Foraminal stenosis is a narrowing of this canal, usually by a disc bulge/herniation or bone spurs.
Neural foramen: A small canal in which the nerves exit the spinal canal at each level. There is a right and left foramina at each level.
Thecal sac: encases the spinal cord and contains fluid to protect and feed the nerves. It is composed of dura mater and arachnoid mater.
Schmorl's nodes: are defined as herniations of the intervertebral disc through the vertebral end-plate. They may or may not be symptomatic,
You have a very mild form of scoliosis, which is a lateral curve of the spine, because of this slight curve the vertebra at T8 is not perfectly in line, over time vertebra in situations like this will develop a wedge shape, yours is only 20% so its very mild and its chronic, meaning that it’s something that developed over a long period of time. Your lower thoracic does show mild to moderate Degenerative Disc Disease, and other changes.
T6-7 and T7-8: you have disc bulges at these levels, but they don’t seem to be causing any problems.
T8-9: Here you have a little more serious disc protrusion, which is mild to moderately compressing your spinal cord. Foraminal stenosis is not significant
T9-10 At this level you have a disc bulge that’s touching, but not compressing the cord. Mild right foraminal narrowing.
T10-11 Disc bulge at this level, doesn’t appear to be causing any problems
T11-12 mild broad disc bulge and mild facet hypertrophy. (It’s explained in the terminology)
You have a mild exaggeration of the lordotic curve (the natural curve we have in our backs) Mild to moderate age related DDD and spondylosis. And small Schmorl’s nodes at T11-12 (see terminology)
There is mild reactive marrow edema adjacent to the endplates posteriorly at L2-L3.
The bone-marrow edema is a common finding in osteoarthritis and RA; it’s a protective reaction of the body in response to an injury or stress. In simple terms, bone marrow edema means there is fluid within the bone marrow.
T12-L1 Disc protrusion mildly narrowing the foramina on the right side
L1-L2 mild broad disc bulge, mild foraminal narrowing
L2-L3 mild to moderate broad disc bulge into left foramina. Mild Facet Degenerative Joint Disease, Mild to Moderate narrowing of lateral recess (an area on the side of the spinal canal that nerves travel) near L3 nerve root, probably from the facet DJD
L3-L4 mild to moderate broad disc bulge. There is a small central disc protrusion with a peripheral annular tear (tear in the outer ring of the disc) Facet DJD is mild bilaterally (both sides). Foraminal stenosis is mild on the left. There is mild left lateral recess stenosis near the left L4 nerve root.
L4-L5 demonstrates a mild to moderate disc bulge. Facet DJD is mild on the left and mild to moderate right. Foraminal stenosis is mild on the left and mild to moderate on the right. There is mild lateral recess stenosis bilaterally near the L5 near roots. No central canal stenosis.
L5-S1 demonstrates a mild broad disc bulge with a central peripheral annular tear. Facet DJD is mild bilaterally. No central canal stenosis or foraminal narrowing.
The pain you have in your chest is probably from some of the problems you have in the T-spine, In particular at T8-9 you have some cord compression form a disc protrusion and at T9-10 the bulge is supposedly just touching it. This can generate a lot of pain and cause neurological problems like leg weakness. You definitely need to discuss this area with the Doctor; the concern is that it could get worse. The other thing is the foraminal stenosis; you might have a nerve that’s being pinched. The report states that it’s not significant or mild, but that doesn’t necessarily reflect reality, MRI reading is very subjective and the Surgeons generally look at the films themselves and come up with their own conclusions.
The pain in your low back is probably being influenced by a variety of factors, including your disc degeneration and facet joint problems. The pain in your legs, foraminal stenosis i.e. pinched nerves. Of concern, nerve roots at L3,L4 and L5, the report states that their not currently being pinched but this needs to be confirmed, and also you want to ask about the chances that the stenosis will eventually cause problems if nothing’s done.
Should what’s wrong with your back cause a lot of pain? Yes and I doubt if it has anything to do with low pain tolerance. Some of it is natural aging, but there are some legitimate concerns here.
As far as your activity, I wouldn’t play football right now if I was you, but aside from that you really need to discuss this with your Doctor.
Let us know how your appointment goes and what he/she recommends.
Thank you so very much for the courtesy of your time in answering my questions and concerns. You've put my mind to rest as is appears as though my issues are fairly minor. From reading what others have written, it's clear that many individuals have problems that are far more serious than mine. For that I'm thankful. That being said, obviously I have a few things that need to be addressed by my doctor; the stenosis and the pinched nerves.
You cetainly helped my self esteem. I'm glad that I'm not totally "whimping" out and have a legitimate reason for feeling the pain that I do.
I'll let you know how my appointment turns out. And again, thanks.