... have been in and out of the ER so many times I have lost count. I was unable to afford medical insurance so the ER was my only choice. Anyway, last time I was seen there I finally got a Dr to do something other than prescribe pills. He ordered a CT scan which showed that I have a herniated disc at L4-L5 also something less severe at L5-S1. The doctor advised me that I should have an MRI asap as well as possibly contact a neurosurgeon. I have a primary care physician now and she only sends me to PT and basically refills my pills. She told me that an MRI will not show anything more significant than the CT scan. Is this true? Or is she just putting me off? My back is not getting better..only some days are better than others. Thanks in advance!
2 Jul 2011
Hi Angela and welcome! Nice to meet you! :)
Over the past 3 years, I have had 2 MRI's (both painful as I couldn't lay prone without pain~~I still sleep in a recliner chair LOL) and several CT scans including a specialized liver CT scan that was conducted for more than 1 hour (EXTREMELY painful for me!!! ) After undergoing these painful (for me) procedures, I'm usually told "Your body is hard to read." :(
Usually the test ends up with inconclusive results. Even after my special liver CT scan, I was told that I might have 1 tumour or 3 tumours or more... they couldn't really discern that. :(
I'd been told how good the MRI's were & I waited, while in much pain, for a month while on a priority list, for my 1st MRI to be done. I couldn't even get off the MRI bed afterthe test without excruciating pain. So, when I was scheduled another one the following year in a different hospital in a different city, Angela, you can understand my trepidation, anxiety & concern if this would even give us any answers or information with which to build upon. The 2nd MRI wasn't as painful as the 1st. The technician didn't fully immerse my body this time since they weren't concerned about my head area. Just this aspect alone made it so much more tolerable for me to endure. I'm sorry, Angela, but I'm unable to recall the outcome of this 2nd MRI to tell you about.
My suggestion to you would be to get a referral to a neurosurgeon & if he/she also recommends an MRI then go for it! You saw what I put myself through in the hopes of finding some pain relief! After my 1st MRI, I was incapacitated by severely extreme pain for 4 days but I still had my 2nd MRI done. I think some people will do whatever it takes if it will give them some pain relief. Angela, since you'll be looking at your spinal discs I'm unsure if the MRI will add anything additional. Perhaps they want to look at your surrounding tendons, ligaments, muscles & tissues as well? An MRI could be more beneficial in that case. I'd go to a neurosurgeon & listen to him/her.
By the way, my pet dog was also ill 18 months ago and guess what? I took her to a different city to have an animal MRI completed on her! I believe that trying to find out information can't be bad or a waste of your time. What would happen if you DIDN'T even TRY???
Angela, please let us know if you did go to visit a neurosurgeon & how you're doing now. Did you have an MRI or any other tests? Are you doing OK?
Good luck to you. All the best, Angela! from Wendy :)
2 Jul 2011
Thanks everyone for all of your replies. It really is helpful to just share with others who understand. So, UPDATE: My condition had progressed significantly and now I am having extreme sciatica as well. Since this was a new symptom instead of just the low back pain/ disc pain, my doctor decided it would be helpful to get an MRI done. (also I kept bugging her..but in a nice way) LOL..my doctor really is a sweetheart. After having the MRI, my doctor called me and told me that she was referring me to a neurosurgeon ASAP because my spinal cord nerves were being compromised due to the large disc extrusion. (sounds so scary..especially with all the medical terminology nonsense listed on the report. the MRI picture itself looks really creepy too like my disc has ruptured and spilled into my spinal cord..yuck) Now I am waiting for an appt with the only neurosurgeon in town who will see me with my low budget insurance.
Hopefully I will not have to venture in to surgery, but at this point I would do anything to get rid of this pain. I can hardly bear to stand or sit for very long and I walk on my tip-toes all the time because it helps with the pain shooting down my leg. Thanks again everyone for replying..it means a lot..my prayers and thoughts are with you all for good health!
2 Jul 2011
my doctors always order m r i 's saying they do better the a c-t scan!but i really don't know !i have a m r i done on my back every year and a scan on my stomach every year!my question is if a scan shows up as much as a m r i then why put me through being in that thing as long as a m r i takes a scan is a lot quicker !and i can't stand tight places !so i am really interested in this cause i would rather have a scan then a m r i !
21 Dec 2011
I have several herniated discs in my neck, thoracic and lumbar spine. I too am prescribed pain medicines and have had several procedures to no avail. Trigger point injections, Epidurals under fluoroscopy, physical therapy, chiropractor treatments, message and acupuncture. I was told surgery would not help and that I will be on pain medicine the rest of my life. I just deal with it and do the best I can.
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