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Old 05-16-2013, 10:50 AM   #1
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Mri results

Hi everyone. I've had bad back pain for the last 2.5 years resulting from a water tubing accident in which my back was injured from a whiplash type event. I did not seek immediate medical help for it because I thought it wasn't something that wouldn't heal on its own. It started to feel better, but about 6 months later I was lifting something and got a shooting pain that put me on the ground and it's been pretty much downhill ever since. I went to my PCP who prescribed Soma and Tylenol and sent me home.

After finding no relief for a month I went back to the PCP and he sent me to get X-rays and then to a Chiropractor. The chiropractor found no abnormalities on the x-ray but went on to treat me for the rest of last year (6mo). He would basically crack my back once 3x a week and give me electro-therapy.

Still in pain all day every day and frustrated, I went back to my PCP who then sent me to a Physical Therapist with the diagnosis of "Myofacial Pain". I went to the PT for 4 months at the beginning of this year. The PT basically had me lay on my back and would gently massage the area on either side of my spine.

Still in really bad pain, I went back to the PCP who switched me from Soma and Tylenol to Gabapentin, Tramadol, and Tizanadine. He also referred me to a spinal surgeon.

This MD did reflex tests on my arms and legs, finding that my arms did not respond well to stimulation but my legs were perfect. He suggested that I might have a herniated disk at T5. He prescribed hydrocodone and he ordered an MRI which I had done about a month ago. The hydrocodone killed my pain effectively for the first time in almost 3 years. I couldn't be happier. I have an appointment with him next week. In the meantime, the MRI report done by the MRI facility's radiologist was mailed to me. It said that nothing abnormal was found and I was basically fine. I was shocked. I went and picked up the MRI disk from the hospital and viewed it with a free DICOM viewer at home. It looks to me that there's a very obvious disc herniation at T5. I've uploaded screens of the images and I ask that anyone reading this take a look. Does it look like a disc herniation? I requested a renewal of my hydrocodone in the meantime, but the spine surgeon's PA called me and said that they had received the MRI report and it showed no issues, and wasn't sure that he wanted to renew my prescription as it would be inappropriate for my circumstances. He asked me to wait until my appointment next week so I can be evaluated. Meanwhile, I'm back to misery.

MRI Photos:

http://s742.photobucket.com/user/mdobii/library/THORACIC%20SPINE%20MRI

 
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Old 05-16-2013, 02:52 PM   #2
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Re: Mri results

Sorry for the pain that you are in. Physical therapy and walking with my arms moving as I walk have really improved any pain or tightness by moving those nerves.... I have to do the walking every day to get the benefit.

 
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Old 05-16-2013, 04:45 PM   #3
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Re: Mri results

Image 3 looks pretty benign to me. Image 5 less so, but still a ways from being clearly problematic. You do have a disk BULGE there, but I don't see indication that it's HERNIATED, and a bulge of that size could very easily be asymptomatic.

However... the bulge is a less-than-optimal sign, and it may have been caused by trauma that damaged SOMETHING ELSE, which is causing your pain.

Keep in mind that I'm an amateur at this and should be treated as such.

Oh, just my opinion, but I think that most chiropractors and physical therapists basically run billing mills, milking you and your insurance for all they can get. I would look for someone who doesn't want to do anything TO you, but will teach you what you need to do for yourself, and in as few visits as possible.

 
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Old 05-17-2013, 02:53 PM   #4
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Re: Mri results

Quote:
Originally Posted by WebDozer View Post
Image 3 looks pretty benign to me. Image 5 less so, but still a ways from being clearly problematic. You do have a disk BULGE there, but I don't see indication that it's HERNIATED, and a bulge of that size could very easily be asymptomatic.

However... the bulge is a less-than-optimal sign, and it may have been caused by trauma that damaged SOMETHING ELSE, which is causing your pain.

Keep in mind that I'm an amateur at this and should be treated as such.

Oh, just my opinion, but I think that most chiropractors and physical therapists basically run billing mills, milking you and your insurance for all they can get. I would look for someone who doesn't want to do anything TO you, but will teach you what you need to do for yourself, and in as few visits as possible.
As I'm reading more about a bulge or herniation in the upper thoracic spine like this, a small to medium impingement is much more likely to cause significant pain because the spinal chord is very close to the discs to begin with, and there is not as much room for the nerves as there is in the lower spine.

 
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Old 05-17-2013, 05:34 PM   #5
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Re: Mri results

That's true, but I am used to looking at MRI's of the cervical spine, and there is even less room there. As I said, I'm not professional, but my amateur take on it is that the radiologist is not being unreasonable...

 
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Old 05-17-2013, 09:43 PM   #6
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Re: Mri results

Symptoms due to spinal cord compression are electrical sensations... not pain in the sense you are describing. Nerves give off the pain you are describing. But you can do something about most nerve pain with exercise. A physical therapist(who has you doing strength training and stretching and cardio) is your best bet to alleviate the pain. It will take time but keep at it and you will most likely feel an improvement.

I have severe foraminal(nerve) stenosis on multiple levels in my cervical spine. The pain is minimal as long as I exercise those nerves around. I have had severe central canal stenosis that lead to surgery(fusion) for a lower cervical level. Walking and swimming works wonders.

Last edited by jd74; 05-17-2013 at 10:17 PM.

 
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Old 05-18-2013, 06:15 AM   #7
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Re: Mri results

<< Symptoms due to spinal cord compression are electrical sensations... not pain in the sense you are describing. >>

Sorry, but I can't let that pass, because it simply isn't true. Cord compression is affecting ALL the nerves of the spinal cord, and thus can cause symptoms in any feeling or function affected by those nerves. Symptoms can be pain, or soreness, or tingling, or electrical shocks, or just a weird "sick nerve" (my term) feeling. Worst of all, there may be no changes in SENSATION at all, but loss of strength or of motor function.

No doubt, stretching and exercise can help, but they are not always the best answer, or necessarily any answer at all.

Last edited by WebDozer; 05-18-2013 at 06:17 AM.

 
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Old 05-18-2013, 11:32 PM   #8
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Re: Mri results

I have to totally agree with WD.
I was in the latter category for a long time with each year more symptoms would appear. As in the electrical feelings, the pain & the sick nerve feeling.... Finally I was in the loss of motor function within a couple weeks or last month before surgery. I honestly never had a real loss of strength & have yet to even after the double surgery. I did have the weak feeling at times & know that I have less than normal.
Although my Ortho surgeon & Neurosurgeon doesn't seem to think so. Also you need to convey this to them as well.
I do hope you find relief & find a solution to your pain.

Also I only saw 3 pics on the site you posted.
Did you edit or lose some of the images?
Also do some research on the web & see what you can find out about T-spine disc herniation.
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Last edited by roadiez; 05-18-2013 at 11:40 PM. Reason: pics

 
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Old 05-19-2013, 12:57 AM   #9
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Re: Mri results

roadiez... question for you with respect to a new symptom I am getting:
I started getting a burning feeling in my hands. Initially I just thought maybe carpal tunnel syndrome, and changed up my workstation. Eventually that burning was in my feet. Than my arms and legs. Mostly on the left side. I have also experienced it in my chest and abdomen. Over a 2 week period it has spread everywhere. They are intermittent and so far only last up to maybe 30 seconds. Have you dealt with "a burning" or heavy rubbing sensation... sandpaper sensation, not due to one nerve but all over the body?

For 10 years I dealt with electrical shocking sensations all over. Even after surgery I got it a couple times. There was a clear cause and affect though. Now there is no warning for this other burning sensation. And no clue why.

Other things that can cause burning: diabetes, vitamin B12 deficiency, anemia, kidneys. All but the kidneys have been tested with results recently and are fine. The kidneys are awaiting on results... prelims show ok though.

thanks

Last edited by jd74; 05-19-2013 at 12:59 AM.

 
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Old 05-19-2013, 02:14 AM   #10
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Re: Mri results

I would honestly have that checked out ASAP.
I saw that you did have surgery for the stenosis last year as well (How did that go for you?).
The Ortho surgeon ordered a Myelogram (Basically a CT scan with dye injected).
It gave a very clear picture of how the cord was how severely compressed, the level the facets were being closed up. Also where the osteophytes were infringing on the nerves & cord.
I still have the burning in my (R)thigh. Have the pins & needles/tingling in my hands & feet & legs. And yes even on my face & head areas. It does not have any onset I believe other than how my head/neck is positioned as in watching the tv, typing on the laptop & especially sleeping.
I don't know if anyone else experiences this.

I have never felt the burning in my chest or abdomen. But I know the surgeons & my PM asked about the loss of bladder. I wonder if that is what you are feeling?

I know if the cord compression is severe enough the symptoms you are having can be almost anywhere. And the electrical shocks I also believe are also caused by the cord compressions.

The spinal cord & nerves are very funny acting & can cause tons of different symptoms that are not what Neurologists & Orthopedics commonly check off their lists. They basically look at what the most common ones are & is something gets so severe they recommend corrections then.


I honestly think you could still have severe nerve compression & like I said above I think the doctors might have to go back in & try to clean up some more of spinal cord. The stenosis might honestly be interfering on several levels that the initial surgery didn't clear up.

I hope you keep us updated on your progress & what your doctors suggest.


I kept doing the spaces so it will be easier to read for all... I know if it is just one big block of words I get to rereading some lines 2 or 3 times in some cases.
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Old 05-19-2013, 03:36 PM   #11
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Re: Mri results

Thank you roadiez for the insight.

My surgery was a success in that I was able to be active fairly quickly. Only one level was dealt with due to the other levels(bulging discs) still showing some life to retract a bit on their own. Because of this, my surgeon wants to wait and see if those discs will retract on their own, if that is the problem, otherwise imaging will be in order for the current issue. The communication has been done through leaving messages and I have no idea what the burning sensation means compared with what I used to get.

 
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Old 05-19-2013, 09:46 PM   #12
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Re: Mri results

Wish I had been that lucky with only 1 level being done....
I had a 5 levels done on both sides.
I had an ACDF mesh cage inserted with 2 kick plates(as the surgeons notes dictate). Then on the posterior side I had a PCF/corpectomy where the bone is shaved out with the iliac crest(hip bone inserted with a DePuy Mountaineer System put in.

I didn't get much research other than from the manufacturers web site. And all that was just jargon to sell it to the hospitals & doctors. I really wish there was something for the patients to find out about hardware & such.

I also had ordered a "Bone Fusion Stimulator" ordered for me. I talked to the Neurosurgeon & he said they have a 97% fusion success rate even with smokers or users of nicotine... Which I am trying to quit. But when you are in so much pain at times I really crave a smoke.
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Old 07-09-2013, 02:26 AM   #13
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Re: Mri results

MRI scans do not show everything anyway. I had ankle surgery four weeks ago. I went in to have two procedures, both key hole surgery, when the surgeon got the camera rigged up he realised that I had a major problem with two of my ligaments which, so he carried out two more procedures to ensure my ankle is stable. Nothing indicating the ligaments were shot showed up on the MRI at all. So just because nothing is crystal clear from that doesn't mean there's no problem. I'm in the UK, so. Our health system is different but I find that persistence pays off eventually. I had five years on and off of what i now know to be pointless physio on an ankle that was never going to heal without surgery. My problems exacerbated during that time. I would get back on to them... Ask for a second opinion...another scan...whatever. Good luck Simon.
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Old 07-09-2013, 02:33 AM   #14
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Re: Mri results

Oops,sorry Mobrien.
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:06 PM   #15
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Re: Mri results

Mobrien, how do you know it was a whiplash?. I have just read that doctors don't understand much about whiplash injuries and anyway, many whiplash cases cannot be seen by doing MRI, CT or x rays.

Whiplash injury is not a "normal" injury.

I had a whiplash and am allowed to take pain medications.
Cause of this whiplash I have problems sleeping and so on....my life is miserable and my orthopedic yesterday said that they believe people eventhough you cannot see it on mri's!.

I repeat, my orthopedic said that they believe people who had whiplash pain eventhough you cannot see it on mri's.
Anyway, he said that doctors don't understand why people who had whiplash keep suffering from pain.

So you have to go to an orthopedic who knows whiplash can cause an everlasting pain so they believe you and when they believe you they can prescribe medications.
I asked him if there is any TREATMENT for whiplash and he said NO. (you either try to live with that...or you take meds...I am telling you what he said....).

I hope I helped? and again, sorry you have to suffer like that. I truly understand how you feel. (eventhough I probably suffer more than you...cannot rest my neck on the pillow etc..you at least don't have that problem, right?).

I was looking today for somebody here who had a whiplash and I found you.

Take care!

Last edited by nochange; 07-09-2013 at 11:15 PM.

 
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