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Why am I getting a normal mri?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello- I am a 38 year old female who has had neck pain for several years. I had two accidents involving my neck- in 2001 a 35 lb box fell off a shelf at work and hit me right on top of the head. I went to a chiropractor and they treated me for six weeks before saying they thought I had been born with a neck condition; so my insurance stopped paying for it. In 2003 I had a car accident in which I had a pretty bad concussion.
Since those two accidents, I've had this feeling of a ton of pressure at the base of my neck, with alot of pain. I was told by my first chiropractor that I had no curve in my neck and that three of my vertabrae were fused.
Recently I started a job that requires alot of bending. I've noticed my neck is really hurting now. Also, for the past several weeks Im getting a wierd sensation of little shocks in my arms, legs and feet. I get slightly dizzy at times as well.
I have gone to two doctors now. One did a ct scan and one did an mri. Both of these have come back normal. I feel so frustrated! My work thinks I am making this all up, my doctors tell me Im just stressed..how can I be having the same exact pain I had when I hurt my neck, and one doctor sees fused vertabrae, but the tests now see nothing??
Not sure what to do, its really causing me alot of problems trying to do my job....


  • Take your MRI and CT to a spine special. Your GP doc will not be able to read the images good enough to really see what is going on. Don't give in just because the right doc hasn't seen your scans yet.

  • I hope you can get some answers soon Tigger. Sounds like you have been suffering long enough. What kind of doctors did you see? No one ordered physical therapy for you?

  • MRIs, because they're done laying on your back, miss many problems. I just had a cervical x-ray that revealed problems that MRIs missed, but it was done while I was sitting, and with flexion and extension (looking up and down). If you have to steal a wheelchair from the lobby to sit, do it!

    There is such a thing as upright MRI. They are spread all over the country, but your insurance will probably cover it, because it's the same technology as a regular MRI. If I was at my regular computer I could provide you with a web site, but if you look up upright MRI, you'll find much info. They can even do MRIs of you bending over.

    Don't let doctors intimidate you. There's obviously something wrong with your spine. Be patient with them and if you have no luck with one, fire them and get another.
  • A ct myelogram and a discogram can catch things like annular tears or other sources of pain that MRi's miss. Long ago, my nerve impingement was more pronounced when getting a ct myelogram done because they injected dye into the spinal canal and I was rolled around and tilted up and down on a table. Right after I had a ct done, and then the radiologist showed me the results. It's up to your doctor to decide whether or not he wants to order these invasive tests. PS A discogram is another test where they provoke the disc to see if it is the pain generator. It can be uncomfortable to go through.
  • If your PCP will not give you a referral to a specialist- find a new one (the sooner the better).

    My NS just saw me and ordered an array of tests so we can find out what is going on. It is a slow process and finding the problem is a bit like detective work- but no looking/testing is irresponsible.
  • you need to get to a spine specialist and have them look at your mri's to figure out whats going on.one doc. says there fused and another one says no,doesn't make any sense. I have had doc. lie to me and tell me that my mri's were perfectly fine when they were showing all kinds of problems so make sure you have someone you think you can trust look at them.
  • Thank you all for your replies:) I'm currently looking for someone else to look at my mri results..
    its just so frustrating when I know very well there is something wrong. I sometimes feel sort of dizzy as well:( In the meantime keep your fingers crossed I dont lose my job for not being fast enough! I work in a warehouse where I do alot of bending and it has been causing alot of problems.
    Anyways, thank you all for your advice! Its nice to hear people who don't think its all in my head:)
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    I hope you can find someone to help you. Don't let them make you think it's all in your head. We all know when something is wrong. The doctors don't know our feelings. If the tests show nothing, and you're in pain, there is something wrong but they're just not seeing it or don't tell you everything. I know it's not in your head.
    Take care,
  • I to have same problem plz. Contact me @. aracqayyum@yahoo.co.in
  • Liz53Liz53 MissouriPosts: 142
    My first MRI was read incorrectly and I suffered for months from my injury shoveling snow last December until may when I had surgery for a piece of ruptured disc lodged in my L 4 nerve root. The first Dr saw nothing and finally a NS saw the problem
    The problem now is I still have pain ,six months after the surgery and had a repeat MRI ,which the NS read as NORMAL and I have continued low back pain and leg numbness. I am at the end of the rope wanting to be well. I have read here about standing MRI and this has never been mentioned. Where are they? It makes sense to me that my problem is worse sitting, standing and better although not gone when flat. I live in the Midwest in a larger city and have not heard of a standing MRI ? Any suggestions what to do, where to go would be appreciated!
  • There is a lot of controversy over standing versus prone MRI results. Some feel that the prone MRI tends to miss things but others feel that the standing or sitting MRI over diagnosis' conditions that aren't truly present, so there is much conflict about both versions.
    It could be that the ongoing pain that you are having is a result of scar tissue or too long left compression of a nerve root .
    Residual pain after surgery is common unfortunately, and often occurs because we waited too long to seek treatment before doing anything about the problems.
    Personally I have had MRIs in the prone position many times and found that if nothing showed then there wasn't anything to show. A good surgeon does not just rely on the report but views each image himself and evaluates what he sees based on his examination and the patients symptoms and complaints.
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