More and more people are sent for a special imaging test called the magnetic resonance image (MRI). This miracle of physics is able to picture soft tissue like no other. The doctors of old would be astounded to see nerves, blood vessels, muscles, ligaments, and the alike in a living person. In the past, this type of physical assessment was only available at an autopsy. However, these modern marvels have their limitations.
Ten years ago, when I saw the MRI image of my spine, I cried. I cried because I saw those two herniated disc that would change my life forever. That was my life-changing event. Looking back, I realize that my MRI did not change what needed to be done to treat my problem. I did not need surgery. I did not need injections. No matter how many MRI's were done on my spine, none of them would have changed what I needed to do and what would eventually happen.
I see many people who have had multiple MRI's. With the amount of MRI's performed on some people,...
Spondylolisthesis (spaun-di-lo-lie-thee-sis) is a mouthful and is a common cause of low back pain (although it can exist anywhere in the spine, the lumbar spine is the most common area affected). The spinal column is a series of building blocks called vertebral bodies stacked on top of one another. Sometimes these blocks do not line up perfectly. This slight separation in the spinal column is called a spondylolisthesis .
"Doc says I have a spondy-something-or-other. Don't ask me what it is; all I know is that it hurts". Steve tries to explain his low back condition to his friend. But, he finds that he cannot explain what he does not understand. Steve has had back pain for a number of years. Every year the pain gets worse and has now become constant. His doctor sent him for x-rays recently. The x-rays showed a spondylolisthesis with disc degeneration at L5/S1. Steve could not understand his doctor's explanation of the condition. So, now he has pain and has confusion.
This is part two of a previous study on patients with posterior cruciate ligament injuries. Part one reported on the natural history of a PCL tear--what happens to patients years after the injury. Part two looks at long-term results based on how severe the injury was. They asked the question, "Do the results depend on the degree of PCLlaxity?" The same 271 patients from the first study were part of the second study. Amount of joint laxity (looseness) was measured for each patient. A special test called the posterior drawer test was used to label severity of each injury. Laxity was graded from one to three. The grade depends on how far the lower leg bone (tibia) slides when pulled forward by the examiner. The higher the number, the more severe the injury and laxity. The patients were asked a series of questions about knee function and activity level. The results showed it didn't matter how tight or loose the joint was after PCL injury. Patients had varying results from poor to good no ma...
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