My neurologist wants to do another MRI on my back. He was surprised to learn that my pain management doctor has not ordered a more recent MRI. I have had bulging discs for 3 years. I had a CT scan 3 years ago for diagnosis. I had a MRI done a year and a half ago and it still showed bulging discs. I have recently completed Physical therapy with a small improvement on my pain level 25 percent maybe. My neurologist says since there was not an 80 to 90 percent improvement that he wants another MRI done? I just don't understand why. There is no surgery or anything they can do. How often do those with back problems have to get MRIs done? Is it normal to be rechecked once a year?
It sounds like he's concerned that its gotten worse since pt didn't help more.
Hello lucyb78, I've had several MRI's do to Spinal Stenosis & bulging disks in my neck! The last surgeon that I saw stated that I need a new MRI, the one from a year ago is considered old. Go figure! Also, seeing a new pain management doctor next week for consul... wonder if she will request a new one also! I have been there & done that (as we say), I try to be a compliant patient!
Take care& be well
If you have bulging discs or stenosis,once per year is a good timeframe. That gives the doctor the ability to see how quickly it is progressing and if treatments are effective. That way they know more about how to adjust medications and how aggressive to treat it.
I also have bulging and herniated disks up and down my spine and neck. Plus DDD, bone spurs osteoarthritis, and muscle and nerve damage. All so much fun! I have also been through PT many times. Never really helped much. My PM Dr has done 4-5 MRI's and EMGs. I only have to get a MRI when a new symptom happens or one that I have gets worse. Getting 1 every year seems like alot to me not to mention how much they cost. But with a new Dr you have to pretty much do what they want. Maybe they think the disk has gotten worse or is bulging. Better to be safe than sorry.
Hi. If the doctor wants one evidently he needs to see a current one. Generally speaking once a year is normal for keeping a close eye on your diagnosis and to help you one way or the other.
One year is a long time for your body to change and that "change" needs to be documented.
I'm quite baffled that your original doctor would want another MRI, knowing all of your symptoms have stayed asymptomatic (no change).
I could justify another MRI if you all of a sudden had increased pain, numbness going down the leg or possibly pins and needles in your foot.
Usually, doctors have guidelines that must be followed before they can order expensive tests.
On the average an MRI can cost between $2,500 to $4,000 depending upon one's insurance.
One justifiable reason for having a second MRI is to establish treatment. But you mentioned that you're not a surgical candidate.
Also, you had both a CAT scan and an MRI both within three years of each other. Have you considered getting a copy of both tests and making an appointment with a neurosurgeon?
If a neurosurgeon agrees your not a surgical candidate then maybe theres something else he/she could recommend? Have you ever had a nerve block or a cortisone shot to alleviate pain? I understand they're only a temporary solution.
Finally if your doctor or specialist does decide to do another MRI it's good news to know there is no radiation exposure with an MRI. There is a small amount of radiation exposure with x-rays and a CAT Scan.
Best of luck to you, stay strong!
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