I am new to this forum and would greatly appreciate any information available. In 2002 I had a discectomy on the L5 S1 disc done fine for 10 years ran, rode horses and worked a very physical job. However in March of 2009 my car was hit in the driver's side door and immediately my lower back began hurting radiating down my leg, along the outer side of my foot, across the top, and my big toe and the two after that are numb. I was seen at the Cleveland Clinic had a EMG no nerve impingement but the back specialist wanted a MRI and this is the results of those findings: disc desiccation L5- S1, no focal recurrent disc herniation, Mild disc bulges at L4-5 and L5 -S1, and minimal osteophytic ridging. Additionally, T2 bright signal associated with annular tears at L4-5 and 51. At L4-5, the annular tear is right lateral, foraminal and annular tear. Also left lateral, also left tear. At the L5-S1 the annular tear is posterior, posterior central. Minimal osteophytic ridging causing only mild to minimal narrowing of the L5- S1 neural formina.

My question is what does all of this really mean I have not been back to my specialist
I am curious what kinds of questions should I be asking him
They called me and told me to continue with anti inflammatory medication (which makes me sick at my stomach) and therapy
Should I be doing more
Will these tears heal
This all sounds serious to me however the report is lumping all of this as degenerative disc disease

Any way any information that can be provided will be appreciated particularly specific questions to ask the specialist.