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Old 12-01-2006, 07:42 PM   #1
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Tremors & the Difference Between Brain/Cervical MRIs

Hey there folks:
I was sorting through my records today and I didn't realize that I had a copy of my brain MRI that was done in May (which I should have known, because any tests are automatically mailed to me). So I read through it, and as my GP stated, "normal". However, when I was in his office the day he ordered it, I could have sworn he also ordered a cervical MRI. Fancy that. I don't have those results, and now I'm not sure if one was even performed.

I will certainly add that to my growing list of questions for him when I see him.

So what do you make of this:
In May I experienced a wrenching pain in the middle of my back (felt like in my spine), right leg numbness and spasms.

With this current episode, the most memorable issues have been severe imbalance, tremors, weakness, spasms.

Would all of these symptoms come from the brain or could they also come from the cervical spine?

And to revisit the tremor issue. I didn't even realize I had one until the neuro at the ER tested me. But after I took a shower this morning my legs were shaking like crazy. They calmed down after about 10 minutes. But for the rest of the day I've had one in the same arm that the neuro indicated. It's only noticeable if I try to take a drink out of a glass and by the time it gets halfway up to my face, I start shaking to where I need to switch hands if I want to get the beverage in my mouth and not all over my face (and all over my unfortunate cat if he's sitting in my lap).

I will go over this with my GP, and if indeed a cervical MRI has not been done, do you think it would be warranted due to my symptoms? And also, since the pain issues I've had have been originating in the middle of my back, should I also push for a thoracic MRI? He may already have that on his agenda, but I want to get my ducks in a row before I see him.

Thanks to all!

 
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Old 12-02-2006, 12:33 PM   #2
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Re: Tremors & the Difference Between Brain/Cervical MRIs

When I started having twitching in my back and it felt like some one was (still does) sitting on my chest, my neuro jumped at the chance for a thoracic MRI. They just need a reason so the insurance company will allow it. So yes ask if you can have one. Also a cervical MRI is a must. Alot of times lesions won't show in the brain but will in the neck. If I'm right the cervical spine controls upper arms to elbows and shoulders. Thoracic spine controls lower arms, chest and abdomen. Lumbar spine (low back) controls legs. So a lumbar MRI would also not be out of the question. The brain can control anything it wants usually tremor, imbalance and weakness.
It sounds like you know what to do and your ducks are marching right behind you. (Sometimes it just nice to have someone confirm what you think is right. I understand.)

 
Old 12-02-2006, 03:25 PM   #3
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Re: Tremors & the Difference Between Brain/Cervical MRIs

cervical mri is handy for numbness and pain in the arms and shoulders because thats the big line where the nerves all come together.
my "specks of flair" as they say, are on the edge of my corpus collosum and one in my frontal lobe.
cervical spine is clear, but i'll be damned if my shoulder isnt on fire all the time...
if youre having spine pain, maybe its a disc? people like us tend to have postural issues that could be snipping away at your disk, or nudging it a certain way.
be careful!

 
Old 12-03-2006, 08:20 PM   #4
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Re: Tremors & the Difference Between Brain/Cervical MRIs

Hey, thanks guys. I'm getting myself all stressed out for my appointment tomorrow. I'm afraid I may omit information, include too much, or just not be aggressive enough.

SRS, I think my GP has been considering a disc problem, or at least when this current epsiode began, he said "I think it's your back". When I arranged for the MRI appointment, I was surprised he ordered lumbar and not thoracic since the pain seems to be more middle of the back and not low. But maybe he is planning on doing thoracic next.

All I know is since this whole mess began two months ago, I have not been the same since. I just want to make sure when I see the GP tomorrow I don't minimize my symptoms and walk away with less than satisfactory answers.

 
Old 12-03-2006, 08:25 PM   #5
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Re: Tremors & the Difference Between Brain/Cervical MRIs

Fancy-
yeah i totally feel ya.
make sure your doc really understands the location of your pain- he might be ordering the "wrong mri"!
yeah i havent been the same since i started this journey/mess either.
who's your neuro? at Rush?

 
Old 12-03-2006, 10:02 PM   #6
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Re: Tremors & the Difference Between Brain/Cervical MRIs

I think that's my problem sometimes. The last episode I had, I tried to describe the twisting steel rod type sensation that seemed to be running down my entire spine - except I said I felt "kchhhht" and crunched my hands - and he interpreted that as me feeling tense. I wish there was some patient to doctor language dictionary.

The neuro I will be seeing is Dr. Hassan. Heck if I know anything about him. The receptionist was very kind when I scheduled the appointment. I told her that I was instructed to make an appointment from my ER visit. She had trouble finding anything before January, because she said a lot of people were trying to get in before the new year due to the holidays and insurance stuff. She said she could have set me up with an NP sooner, but told me that I needed to see a Neuro due to the imbalance. Not sure how many doctors are in the department.

So I have no idea what this guy will be like. Hopefully he'll be great and up for a challenge (crossing fingers). My GP is Dr. Papernik (which is the guy I am seeing tomorrow).

 
Old 12-04-2006, 07:19 AM   #7
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Re: Tremors & the Difference Between Brain/Cervical MRIs

I'd say be aggressive and have them MRI your cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine at once. I have a herniated disc at T7-T8, and it took them 4 months to find it because they weren't being aggressive enough in doing the tests. Given you have spasms and so on in your legs and arms, and if it is disc related, the sooner you find it the better to avoid damage to your spinal cord. If you have a higher level disc issue at your thoracic spine, your arms can be affected as well as your legs. A disc issue in your lumbar spine or the lower levels of your thoracic spine should not affect your arms.

If it is not disc related, imaging your entire central nervous system would also diagnose or rule out MS. Believe me, you don't want to sit there thinking what if it is MS because you are missing a thoracic or cervical MRI, and the others are clear (the central nervous system consists of the brain, the thoracic spine and the cervical spine, and MS lesions can be seen in all of those areas or isolated to one area only).

Finally, the shaking in your hands can be an independent problem--not related to the spasms in your legs--such as an ulnar or median nerve compression.

The neuro would also do blood and urine tests to determine if there is a metabolic issue that might be causing your symptoms.

Good luck!

Last edited by lucidmaster; 12-04-2006 at 07:21 AM.

 
Old 12-04-2006, 12:47 PM   #8
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Re: Tremors & the Difference Between Brain/Cervical MRIs

Thanks lucidmaster:
You've provided some valuable info! It can be quite confusing when the possibilities can go in so many directions...

I'm going to post a fresh thread regarding my appointment today.

 
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