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Tuesday, June 15, 2010 paula sullivan, Community Member, asks

Q: what are prominent endplate changes at L2-3 L3-4 L4-5 and L5-S1 in the lower back

My MRI states i havelumbar levoscoliosis as well as degenerative retrolisthesis of L2 on L3,also mild endplate spurring and mild facet hypertrophy and fluid in the left facet joint could this be causing me chronic lower back pain.

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Answers (1)
6/15/10 10:16pm

All of these fancy words and descriptions really just mean that your spine is getting older and degenerating. Just like the skin gets wrinkles as you get older, the spine goes through a series of changes as you get older as well. Disc degeneration is just the first pebble thrown into your pond. As the disc degenerates, the end plates of the vertebral bodies (the bones between the discs) undergo changes in response. Then the facet joints swell and develop arthritis. Then the lumbar segaments start to slip (retrolisthesis) as the discs loose height and ligaments loosen. The changes just keep going.


But does any of this aging process necessarily lead to chronic pain... No. Many people have spine degeneration and have no pain. Others have a great deal of pain. Pain is not visible on the MRI. The interaction between you, your lifestyle, the state of the spine, your health is what leads to a painful condition. An MRI is just a small piece of the pain puzzle.


Dr. Christina Lasich, MD

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By paula sullivan, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/25/10, First Published: 06/15/10