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Which test are best

Kris-NYKKris-NY Posts: 2,207
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:35 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I've been reading alot of the recent posts and I am beginning to wonder if my doctors are missing something. I was in a MVA 4 1/2 months ago. Have pain mostly in my neck, shoulders, collar bone and shoulder blade plus headaches.

Had MRI of shoulder and surgery for rotator cuff. When that didn't stop the pain I had MRI of spine (3 actually). Radiologist says there are problems but surgeon and neurologist say it isn't related to the pain I am feeling. But they also didn't like the MRI quality (stand-up MRI).

Now I'm wondering if I need a new MRI or some other test. Seems like alot of people find problems on these other tests that didn't show up at first.




  • I think another MRI and maybe a CT scan. Whiplash symptoms can linger around for a long time. I had 2 rear end collisions within 6 weeks of each other, so I can relate to the pain. You should ask the doc first and if that doesn't provide you any answers, it's usually a good idea to get a second opinion. Let us know how it goes
  • numbness in your hands or fingers especially in the morning? do you have a dull ache in your neck at the bit that joins you shoulders the bit that sticks out a bit ?if so you may need a nerve conduction test and a doppler scan on your wrists .normal x ray will look for broken or misplace bone .ct will look for blood vessels and soft tissue damage and a MRI will look for nerve damage {all machines will overlap in the things that they can see }were you waring your seat belt because you could have thoracic outlet syndrome caused by seat belt trauma .my advice is go back to the doctor and talk about further investigations
  • Kris,

    The standing MRI's are great in theory as it is really the proper way to look at the spine. However, the technology just isn't that good yet to see what a closed MRI would see. Trying looking at the cervical radiculopathy videos here, see if your pain is following any of those pathways. You can also look up whip lash some will say the symptoms from whiplash can last as long as a year. Keep in mind after the age of 30 everyone will show some form of degeneration in the spine, just the nature of the spine. But the difference is you are having symptoms from whatever it is. The emg is another useful tool in finding nerve damage. Keep in mind it can show false positives and false negatives. The doctors take all of these findings and put together along with their clinical findings. There are yet other test that can be done to identify problem areas. They can use myelograms followed with CT's, selective nerve blocks, discograms, flexion/extension x-rays and the ones mentioned earlier.

    It is just my opinion but to treat someone, they need to find the pain generator. You know you body best and your the one who knows if something just isn;t right. Have the doctors suggested what you should do in the meantime? I am sure you have done therapy was it of any help or not to you. If not what type of pain did it cause?

    When i first entered this journey, I know for myself that I wasn't explaining the pain correctly. Part of the problem is it was nerve pain. Nerve pain is not like having a broken ankle and you say doc it hurts here see. Nerve pain changes daily and in my experience usually what set it off happened hours before the actual pain begins. So for example I didn't get it that my car was actually setting the pain off, i did know i had issues driving and holding the wheel once it started.

    One thing I started doing was charting and journaling the pain so I could explain it better. I really think your going to need further testing to get at the pain generator itself. I'm not sure why they haven't ordered new imaging if the quality of the MRI wasn't of very good quality. Did you ask these docs since the quality was so poor to order a standard closed MRI, or what type of test would more conclusive as to what is causing your issues? There is a very good link in the FAQ section preparing to meet with a spine surgeon, that may help you formulate the questions to better help. Not that you are in the need of surgery, but just to get some ideas of questions to ask to keep the meeting on track to finding the pain generator. Kris, keep us posted on what you do next, i sure hope they find what is causing the pain.
  • THis place has been invaluable to me. I can't imagine how frustrated I would be if it wasn't here.

    You all had great things to say. I do believe it is necessary to find the real cause of my pain, not just mask it. My neuro thinks that by "sedating" the nerves they will have a chance to heal. SO he is giving me neurontin and skelakin for muscle stiffness.

    Part of problem is that I know I don't explain my pain properly. It changes constantly. Mornings are a 2-3 on a pain scale. Mid day is usually good. ANd late day and evenings are 4-8 depending on what I am doing. I like the journal idea. But I think I also describe pains in ways that are not the classic. What I call a spasm other people call tingling.

    I will start a journal and see if that helps. I speak to the neuro tomorrow again. I will ask him about other tests and see what he says. He is supposed to be excellent so I should probably give it some time.

    Thanks for the ideas and info.
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