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What are my options for an MRI back scan that shows diffuse disc bulge causing nerve root impingement?

Age: 50 - 59
Spine Health Orthopaedic Surgery
DOCTOR’S ANSWER (2)

Diffuse disc bulges (with or without nerve impingement) in MRI is a natural process as we age and can be found in your MRI even if you have no back pain or nerve pain.

Nothing needs to be done and nothing can be done to reverse this natural aging.

But if there is back or nerve pain, you will need a spine specialist to examine the MRI images in detail to assess the severity of nerve impingement.

You cannot just base on what the report says.

If not serious, most will need physical therapy to treat the pain and strengthen the back just like any aging joints in your body.


Dr Fong Shee Yan
MBBS, FAMS, FRCS, MMed Ortho

MOUNT ALVERNIA HOSPITAL
820 THOMSON ROAD
Singapore 574623

291 views 2 Aug 2019
MRI scans will provide a detailed view of the spine, discs and condition of the nerves. The most important aspect of the MRI is the ability of the doctor to link the images on the MRI to the condition of the patient. Incidental findings (finding abnormalities when the patient has no symptoms) occur in about 15% of cases.

If the symptoms match the findings on the MRI, treatment options depend on the severity of the symptoms and compression. For mild cases, I would recommend a course of physiotherapy and exercise program designed to strengthen and stabilize the core muscles. For more severe cases, treatment options include nerve root blocks, disc injection therapy (nucleoplasty or discoplasty). For more severe compression with persistent symptoms, these patients may even need surgery.

Dr James Tan
FRCSEd (Gen Surg) (RCS, Edinburgh, United Kingdom), FRCS (Gen Surg) (RCPS, Glasgow, United Kingdom), FRCS (Neurosurgery) (RCS, Edinburgh, United Kingdom)

Neurosurgery International, Gleneagles Hospital

6A Napier Road #02-42 
Gleneagles Annexe Block 
Singapore 258500


241 views 22 Aug 2019
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