I have finally got the results of my last MRI scan of my spine.
Starting with my lumber spine, apparently the disc above my fusion is obviously in a bit of a mess but at the moment it is not impinging on any nerves.
My thoracic spine has not altered at all from the last MRI, which means that the good news is that the two that are bulging slightly are not causing any nerve damage.
They found that the disc under the fusion in my cervical spine (neck) isn’t so good and has some slight nerve impingement. They said that any type of surgery for this would only be advised if I cannot cope with the pain anymore.
They think I am in a lot of pain at the moment as my pain killer (tramadol) has simply just stopped working for me. I’ve been on that pain killer for over 10 years now so it didn’t surprise me.
I am now being referred to a Professor of Medicine who will look at different drugs I could try for the pain and I am also going to have a different type of injection when I go for my next session.
I wasn’t surprised with the findings, but I was surprised that it ‘wasn’t’ the bone spur that was causing all the pain in my cervical area. Hopefully, a new set of drugs will do the trick.
At last I am having a full spinal MRI – my neck and thoracic pain in particular have gone worse over the last twelve months and we have tried lots of new treatments but none of the pain relief lasts long enough.
I had my last lot of injections in December but was struggling so much at that stage that my pain consultant told me to contact him if the injections didn’t work for long. Unfortunately I seemed to have got lost in the system, but eventually managed to get a telephone appointment with him.
I was then told to go to the Spinal Unit to see someone a couple of days later and it was decided that it was time I had a full spinal MRI. It will be a few weeks before we get the results but I really do feel that this is the right move.
No more panic if your a bit claustrophobic with the upright MRI.
MRI imaging has long been used as a way to image and assess the spine for pathology, scanning patients supine. It may now be argued that scanning patients in a weight-bearing position has the potential to deliver a more precise diagnosis, thus improving patient management.
It’s an open system which enhances patient comfort for an anxiety-free examination, and has a
unique ability to scan the spine in flexion or extension.
Its not just for the spine though as weight-bearing imaging can be of benefit in joints like hips, knees, or ankles.
Patients who cannot undertake a conventional MRI scan due to claustrophobia, large body size, or inability to lie down, also benefit from this truly open scanner.
It is also a radiation-free way to evaluate scoliosis in the standing position.
The upright scanner is available at MRI London, for more details head to their website.
I’ve suddenley realised i’ve written loads on back problems but never actually posted whats happened to mine so for anyone to wants to know here goes –
First traction in 1982 damaged a nerve sensation in my leg
visits to Osteopaths and Chiropractors to correct my significant trunk shift to the right and severe and progressive sciatica for around 5 years
Had Myleogram in 1987 which showed spina bifada occula and demonstrated a disc herniation and canal stenosis
Had my first operation 1987 – lumber discetomy
12 months later major problems with my neck – traction – CT and mylogram showed serious cord compression and a prolapsed disc at C3/4 – had a disectomy and removal of the prolapsed fragment of the disc with two level fusion. Pain relief after this op was immediate
1988 – 1996 ongoing problems and pain with lumber and cervical
April 1996 – saw first pain consultant who recommended suprascapular nerve block and caudel epidural block
July 1996 – discogram showed disc above the 2 level fusion at C3/4 is where the pain was coming from, where the disc had also degenerated. Pain source clearly because I had angular kyphosis for which I had a previous fusion which had collapsed so I had another fusion to re-create the saggital plane and kyphosis correction. – Pain after this op was worse than before op.
October 1998 – Thoracic disc T5/6 tender – lumber spine narrow disc L4/5 and L5/S1 no disc space
Nov 98 – scan shower further degenerative changes so had Physio and Acupuncture
Feb 99 – had lumber surgery above previous with syn cage – developed a retroperitonal haematoma which was drained under radiological control. This went worse so had an op to open front wound and drained the haematoma and put on antibiotics. A week later the front wound burst and Id developed a para colic collection and infection which originated from the surgery site in my back. Stay in hospital for weeks on intravenous antibiotics.
March 2000 – Lumber epidural for pain
July 2001 – Pain at C4/5 – had injection of local anaesthesia and steroid (marcain and kenelog) needle placed on bone of the facet area and an injection performed but the marcain leaked into the extradural space surrounding the spinal cord which led to an anaphylactic type reaction – hospitalised
Jan 2002 – Epidural lumber and also then referred to Rheumatologist who diagnosed that I also had Fibromyalgia
Aug 2005 – Discogram showed positive at L3/4 with an annula tear
Nove 2005 – Had IDET operation done at L3/4
Feb 2006 – Suffering low back pain, severe leg pain and tingling in fingers. Injection given under x ray. Significant trunk shift to RHS and some reduced pin prick sensation over the left C9 dermatome. Hoffmans test was negative.
June 2006 – referred to new pain consultant who wrote down that I had mechanical low back pain, failed back surgery syndrome, myofascial pain left quandratus lumborum, myofascial pain mid-thoracic and left shoulder.
2007 Treated with nerve blocks, epidurals and started my journey through alternative therapies
Back pain results after full back scan in 2008 – I have a large beak-like bone spur in my neck resting on the fusion plate trying to fuse itself into my spine and a moderate diffuse protrusion of the annulus, but this does not compress the cord, it does however stend into the left neural foramen producing moderate to severe narrowing and the C3 root could be compressed at this location. This is what is causing all my pain in my arms and between my shoulder blades. I also have four small disc prolapses in my thoracic spine but they are not compressed so not causing any problems at the moment and in my lumber spine there is another disc prolapse which is giving me my low back, leg and heel pain.The nerve conduction tests showed that I have chronic partial denervation in the upper and lower limbs.
I bet you wished you hadn’t started reading this !!! well that’s all for now !!!