It has been a few years since I had an MRI but my hip consultant sent me for one last summer to check out how things were going on in my spine. He ordered lumber, sacral and pelvis MRI. I was originally sent to a hip specialist as I was having referred pain in my hips and my GP wondered if it was my hips and not my back causing the pain. .
He told me I obviously had a lot of problems with my spine but the ones he might be able to help me with were my SIJ (Sacroiliac Joints) which showed arthritis in them and that I also had a small oedema within the posterior paravertebral muscles.
I was offered a steroid injection into my SIJ to help ease the pain. He said I was also suffering from bursitits and gave a steroid shot into both my hips.
The sacroiliac injection in my SIJ did help a little but as the months went on it all came back again so I went back to see my consultant to arrange for another SIJ into the other side. He checked me over and noticed how much the left side had deteriorated and gave me another shot of steroid into my left hip and wrote to the radiologist to book another SIJ injection.
I knew I needed to try and get things sorted on the NHS as these are expensive injections and this is a long term problem but with Covid-19 it has meant the waiting list is getting longer and longer. But, the pain team did phone me and after a long chat we decided I really needed a thorough investigation with a spine team. They said they would refer me and I will just wait to hear from them but she did ask me to get the details on the MRI scan I had last year as this would help the spine team to understand my problems.
The MRI copy came through this week and it gave me quite a shock as from the thoracic area down I do not have a disc that is healthy. It showed minor scoliosis in my thoracolumbar spine which I was a bit suspicious about as from the front my trunk is pulling me to one side which is very obvious when I wear trousers with a zip front which pulls right over to one side.
It showed Degenerative Disc Disease within the rest of my lumber spine and disc protrusions at L1/2, L2/3 and L3/4. L4/5 and L5/S1 are fixed with rods and plates. Bone spurs seem to also be present in a number of the discs. When I looked at the symptoms of an L1/2 disc bulge it felt like a bell had just rung. Some of symptoms I have been experiencing were spot on. The trouble is that I tend to put any new pain or discomfort down to Fibro and try and ignore it when really I should practice what I preach and keep a diary of any new symptoms to discuss with my GP.
Basically, I have multilevel degenerative changes within upper lumber spine and arthritis in particular in my two sacroiliac joints.
Next Thursday I go for another steroid injection on the opposite side from last time into my SIJ’s. On the MRI report I noticed that it was written by the radiologist that is performing my injection so I have decided to have a chat with her about my scan to see who she thinks I should go and see.
The professor who performed two of my first spinal surgeries in my 30’s said he thought I would be in a wheel chair by the time I reached my fifties. I will be 68 this year and no where near ready for any wheelchair but it does make me realise that I have obviously managed my spinal pain and problems correctly. It’s all about balance. If you can get your balance right then you will not do more harm to your health/condition. Pacing is essential and something I have practiced for a long long time. And one thing I have always said is NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP.