I had an appointment with a neurologist yesterday on my doctor's recommendation. Ben, being teh good husband he is, went with me. I think he was at least mildly curious about what all those $50 medical terms meant too. I tried, just now, to type out what we learned, but it's too hard to esplain here. It's all pretty technical and specific so I'll just give you the basics:
The disc's, which are the cushions in between your vertebrae, should be like steak; moist and juicy; able to bend and provide cushion. My lower four disc's are beef jerky. Those were his words by the way; his analogy.
Because those disc's have deteriorated so much, they have allowed a few vertebrae to slip out of place. It's called spondylolisthesis
. It's not like totally
out of place to where I'm immobile, but enough to be noticed by the naked eye on an MRI and by occasional twinges of pain.
In everyone, there is a jelly-type substance
in the middle of each disc. Around it is another, tougher substance and the very outer ring of that tough substance is called the annulus. In my lowest disc, that jelly-ish substance is pushing upward into the bottom of the vertebrae and also downward into the vertebrae below. That is called a Schmorl's node
. And that annulus I was talking about has a tear in it, so that jelly-ish stuff is about ready to asplode. Probably won't happen today or tomorrow, but from what I could tell, it may not take too much more to make it burst open with painful goodness. If the jelly comes out the front or back, then that's called herniated; just a little fyi for you!
The best part was the wrap up the doctor gave us about all this. He said that overall, for being 27, I had very advanced degenerization in my lower back. Considering I have never had back problems before and no major injuries to speak of; I've never broken a bone or been admitted to a hospital for anything. He also let me know that my chances of having back surgery in my lifetime were extremely high.
So his recommendation for now is to get some different x-rays to see some different angles, then physical therapy and then we'll see what's next. I'm trying to be optimistic, but it just hit me off guard. I was absolutely not expecting him to say what he did. Ben did some ninnternet research and found out that there's a good chance that the therapy will possibly move that one really bad vertebrae back into a better position.