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Dr. Chip
Dr. Chip, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 31250
Experience:  20 yrs. in practice, includinge surgery, general medicine, addiction medicine and pain.
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Recent MRI report - disc prolapse at L2/L3 causing spinal stenosis & compression of ca

Resolved Question:

Recent MRI report - disc prolapse at L2/L3 causing spinal stenosis & compression of cauda equida. The GP asked me to come-in urgently. I passed all neurological test. She educated me about cauda equina syndrome red flags and is referring me to a neurosurgeon.
I understood that my disk prolapse is in an unusual direction (towards the cauda equina nerve instead of sideways) and that puts me at significantly increased risk of developing cauda equina symptoms. Am I interpreting this correctly or is it fairly common for a disk prolapse to compress the cauda equina nerves, but then the likelyhood of developing cauda equina symptoms is uncommon?
I did not have any accident, however I've had 3 yrs of chronic but manageable back pain. 2.5 months ago, while hoovering I felt a pinch in my back and the pain became much worse, for many weeks. Since then, the pain has improved 80-90% and I currently do not experience much pain (though i am still not fully healed). The MRI was 5 days ago.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 2 years ago.
Hi--any problems with your legs, your balance or your urinating or bowel movmements?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No problems. I passed all neurological tests. I did have referring pain to my groin, quads, butt weeks ago but it is 90% gone now.

Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 2 years ago.
OK Stefan. Obviously you don't have any symptoms of cauda equina syndrome at present, but if the disk continues to extrude further and presses more on the nerves of your cauda equina that is a distinct risk in the future. At this point I would send you to a physiatrist--a physical medicine and rehabilitation MD specialist--for a hands-on treatment program that has a good chance of reducing that prolapse. This definitely needs monitoring and if there is any indication that the protrusion is worsening, at that point you would need surgery to prevent permanent problems with walking, balance, and urinary or fecal incontinence
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