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recent MRI findings--possible myelitis at site of herniation

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Old 02-15-2010, 12:54 PM   #1
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recent MRI findings--possible myelitis at site of herniation

hello, everyone,

it has been months since i have posted as i have been chasing many different rabbits down many different holes. i ended up canceling my ACDF surgery date in december after my neuro-ophthalmologist saw vasculitis in my optic nerve arteries and we have been searching for an autoimmune disorder since.

i had a follow-up c-spine MRI 2 weeks ago and my neurologist called me to tell me that it revealed inflammation in my spinal cord which he labeled possible transverse myelitis leading to MS. i got ahold of the MRI report and it says that the inflammation is longitudinal on the anterior cord and spans c3-c7. this is precisely the site of all of my spondylitic issues. i have bulges at c3-4, c4-5 which are touching the anterior cord, a c5-c6 herniation impinging 2.5mm of the anterior cord, and a bulge at c6-c7 which is not touching the cord.

my neurologist is convinced i have MS and sent me for a 3-day IV steroid infusion in addition to a follow-up brain MRI with contrast to look for brain lesions. the steroids just made me sick and haven't helped with symptoms. i just keep thinking that it is a pretty amazing coincidence that the inflammation is showing at the site of my bulges & herniation, but my neuro dismissed it.

i am trying to get into our local university medical center neurology department for a second opinion, but it is a time consuming process.

has anyone else had this kind of inflammation appear as a result of disc bulges and herniations? any information would be *greatly* appreciated as i am beyond desperate for answers after over a year of this awful business.

thank you so much in advance,
best wishes to one and all,

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Old 02-16-2010, 11:21 PM   #2
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Re: recent MRI findings--possible myelitis at site of herniation

Hi Binx, I remember you from before - so sorry you are having these problems. I would do what you are doing and look for a 2nd opinion from an Neurologist MS expert. If you have difficulty finding one, contact your local MS Chapter and see if they can give you some names. However, there must be something about those lesions and the spread and progression of your disease, like a sharply defined zone that could be a hallmark that is troubling the neurologist - because you had optic involvement.

Demyelination can occur from rubbing but I understand it would be very specific like Neuropraxia and not widespread with the inflammation like you describe. Unless there were like a severe type compression and then I think it as different signs. I am not a doctor so I don't really know, but just from what I have learned I understand why this could be the path they would follow.

There are other causes of TM besides autoimmune like from infection and other disease processes, but it isnt caused by your spondylosis except that the rubbing and compressed spots are a signal to the underlying problem (like MS or autoimmune like Lupus, etc) to activate and attack that spinal cord inflammation and then it grows and spreads and is causing demyelination- but they need to get to the bottom of what the attack is from besides probably fix the other stuff. I understand this situation not because I have TM, but because I have another autoimmune disease called hashimotos thyroiditis and it attacks my thyroid every time I get inflammation in my body. My body has destroyed my own thyroid. THey also suspect I may have an undetected SLE (lupus) which never shows on the tests even though I have many of the hallmarks. I believe that is the underlying problem to all my spinal degeneration - it is attacking all my tissues - thank goodness not my spinal cord.

I immagine you are really frustrated, these things are difficult to get to the bottom of. They really do need to get to the bottom of what is causing the demyelination for you and try to be agressive about getting appointments!

Good luck , my prayers are for you.

Old 02-19-2010, 08:27 PM   #3
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Re: recent MRI findings--possible myelitis at site of herniation

dear neckpatient,

thank you for remembering me, and also for your reply. i appreciate your insight and thoughtfulness very much, and i am sorry to learn that on top of your spinal cord issues, you are also dealing with autoimmune disease(s). my rheumatologist thought i had hashimoto's at first, too, but that got ruled out by blood work.

as you observed, i am really and truly confused about all of this, and became even more so after an appointment with my rheumatologist on tuesday. i went in for a follow up since she's had me on plaquenil for the past 6 weeks for the inflammation of the small vessels in my eyes and wanted to check in, plus i had also told her about my recent c-spine MRI findings showing the spinal cord inflammation. she talked to me about MS and suggested seeing a specialist at our local university medical center, and then she asked to look at the CD of the images that i had. she came back into the exam room a few minutes later with a very perplexed look on her face and said that although she is certainly not a neurologist, she doesn't believe that what's going on in my spinal cord is MS and that it's a better idea for me to see another general neurologist.

i have an appointment with a new neurologist at the university medical center in 3.5 weeks and will hopefully get some clarification then.

thanks again for taking the time to respond. i will let you know what happens.

best wishes,

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