After some long terms issues with my lower back I paid for an MRI scan and got the report back recently. Results below:-
"At L5-S1 the disc has degenerated, lost fluid and shows an inta discal tear with fluid from the nucleus pulpous passing through the annulus. This bulge is minimaly posteriorly but is not grossly effacing the exiting nerve root.
At L4-L5 there is a small disc prolapse which is extending laterally into the lateral recess and is effacing the exiting nerve root. At other levels the discs maintain a normal amount of fluid and are intact. The facet joints are normal. There is no evidence of spinal stenosis. The signal from the vertebral bodies is normal. The distal spinal cord, back muscles and retroperitoneal tissues are normal. The sacroilliac joints are normal."
The annular tear obviously means surgical intervention so I am planning a consultation with a neurosurgeon with a view to a nucleoplasty procedure (subject to NHS referral, etc).
I have been off the iron for 12 weeks. Have had numerous chiro sessions, as well as daily use of an inversion board - which appeas to have relieved some of the sciatic-like symptoms.
I can enjoy a relatively pain-free lifestyle, as long as I am mindful of posture, flexing, carrying objects, etc. I am planning some light weights, especially for upper body, as well as gentle rehab for core, stretching for improved flexibility, etc, in order to recover some of my previous level of conditioning I enjoyed.
So I am pissed but I knew deep down I had damaged the discs, so it wasn't a total surprise. The annular tear was worse than I anticipated as I reasoned a prolapsed disc(s) would gradually recover in time and with proper care/rehab, whereas the tear won't. At the same time, I count myself lucky as I am relatively pain-free.
Would love to here from anyone who has come back from a similar injury, with any advice regarding treatment/rehab appreciated.