ZocdocAnswersWhat's the long-term outlook for my back?

Question

What's the long-term outlook for my back?

I have been diagnosed with spina bifida occulta in, I believe L5. In addition to this, I have a degenerative disc between L3 & L4. Also, Spondylolysis in L5 and Spondylothesis in the L5-S1 area. To add to that, there is osteoarthritis in the facets and in the sacral joints. I am wondering what the long term outlook is (I am 54) and what recommended treatments there are.

Answer

That is an excellent question and one that is best answered by your primary care doctor or a spine specialist such as a medical spine doctor or spine surgeon. In general, the issues you describe on your MRI are not uncommon in people as we age, and they are all caused by normal wear and tear on our bodies over time. Nothing can be done to replace pieces of the spine, but rather surgery is used as a last resort for taking the pressure of nerves in the back and fusing together bones when there is mobility in them. Without looking at your MRI, it is impossible to know the extent of these symptoms but more importantly, there is no discussion of what the clinical symptoms are that you are having and whether or not these could be from the MRI findings. For this reason, you should see a doctor who can see whether the symptoms you have correlate with your MRI findings and also suggest some non-surgical treatment options such as physical therapy or injections into the spine. Again, these suggestions are all predicated upon knowing what clinical symptoms you have and whether they correlate with your MRI findings. Please speak with your primary care doctor or spine specialist.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.