Bertolotti’s syndrome is not uncommon but rarely causes pain. This syndrome typically is due to malformation of the transverse process of L5 enlarging and articulating with the top of the sacrum. This additional bone stabilizes this region and is generally pain free. About 1 in 100 are painful. If painful, the MRI STIR image will be bright (hot) if imaged through the joint. Diagnosis is made if an injection into the joint is pain relieving. Sometimes the injection is all that is necessary to give long term relief. Sometimes, surgery is needed.
Donald Corenman, MD, DC is a highly-regarded spine surgeon, considered an expert in the area of neck and back pain. Trained as both a Medical Doctor and Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Corenman earned academic appointments as Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and his research on spine surgery and rehabilitation has resulted in the publication of multiple peer-reviewed articles and two books.