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CT myelogram anyone?

KimD592KKimD592 Posts: 435
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:53 AM in Chronic Pain

My name is Kim and I am 29 years old. I injured my back in October, and it was discovered that I have several disc herniations and moderate degenerative disc disease. I've done mostly everything, from PT to epidural injections to facet blocks to yoga to medication to ice packs to heat to TENS unit, etc. The only thing I haven't done is seen a chiropractor because my insurance does not cover it. I am a registered nurse and am currently out of work due to my condition, as I have been unable to find desk work.

I am now under the care of a neurosurgeon who is talking about possible surgery, but I'm extremely leary of this option. I have an appt next tuesday to discuss this with him, but first he wants me to have a CT myelogram. Can anyone tell me what this is like? I'm very nervous because I have terrible memories of the epidural injection/facet block and how uncomfortable they were.


  • Hi Kim. I won't lye l had a bad experience with a mylogram. Thay said itwas because l was allergic to the I.V.P. dye I'm knot sure that's right. It was whorst thing I ever felt & I have had alot done to me .rember.no sugar coating here it was like he shot acid in my neck. I could not walk l was dizzy to the point l had to crawl to the bath room to throw up four 5 days.sick.. I think thay put to much dye on me ..it mite knot happen to you. But it really.burned bad. Hope I did not scare you .remember I could be allergic.good luck. &get better.oh yea I. Got 13 hernistions C- T & L I bin through it all. Peace......
  • Kim...1st off best off luck to you and hope you find relief soon!

    Here's my experience...to prepare drink a ton of fuild the day before. The dr should speak to you prior to procedure. Please for your sake be honest with him if you can not stand pain very well. They will give you a hefty dose or lidocane (sp?) to numb the area. I have never actually felt pain from the needle BUT I've felt the pressure. With both my lumbar & neck myelo I need get a slight headache during the procedure. They will inject the contrast then angle the table up for your lumbar. After that you will have a quick CT and be done. The test itself is maybe 30 to 45 minutes and you will need a driver. Here's the important part...DON'T NOT MOVE AROUND AND STAY ON YOUR BACK WITH HEAD ON TWO PILLOWS FOR 24 HOURS!!! If you can stretch it to 48 hours do so. If had complications with leaking spinal fuild & had to go back 3 of 5 times for a patch at the puncture. I was hard headed please don't do the same.

    Just be very honest about your pain tolerance & don't move around after the procedure & you will be fine!

    I know you've had PT but did you have water or massage PT? Both helped prolong the need for surgery & gave me great relief at 1st. I've the same issues as you and a chiro really hurt me bad!!!
  • the only problems i had with mylogram is the needle going in. it felt like an electric shock down my leg and the dye gave me a headache. they say to drink water so headache won't be so bad. it is not that bad, takes about 1/2hour or so to do. but the electric shock symptom down leg was weird. headache was not that bad but i've heard that some people have a bad headache. it is a very useful test by the way and a disography is 100 times worse from a pain level.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • I had one last fall- Thoracic area. I was not given any lidocane or pain meds by the nurses or doctor- but the doctor allowed me to take my own pain meds and then waited for 30 minutes before he started.

    I stayed off my feet the entire day. The worst part was flashing everyone while they made me roll around on the table before the CT Scan (the table also moved- but the doctor insisted that I move as well).

    Good luck- Julie
  • I had one back in 2008. The actual procedure wasn't too bad. I had the numbing medication and then only felt pressure when the surgeon inserted the needle. I did feel a little flush when the dye went in. I had pain in my upper back when they tilted the table.
    The CT portion was very easy, and the result of the CT is where they ocated the pinched nerves leading to a laminectomy.
    Agree with what was said earlier about laying flat for as long as you can. I didn't and got the dreaded head ache, worst head ache I ever had and no medication would help. Took 4 days of lying flat for it to go away completely. I was okay as long as I was lying down but after being up for about an hour or so the headache would come on with a vengence.
    The Mylogram is a very useful diagnostic tool and can identify issues that a plain MRI or CT scan can't.
    Good Luck to you.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • Myelo's and Discograms are not fun tests at all.. but it will give your neuro a better understanding of what disc is causing the most pain and where he should start. Most people say the discogram is worse than myelo but I experienced something different.
    Seeing as it's Thursday.. how did the scan go?!

    I'm happy to hear you have a neuro instead of an ortho on your team! GOOD GOOD choice.

  • OK, it is a useful test, especially to show where nerve roots are being compressed. I can't say I was in pain so much as apprehensive during the procedure, he did the little shot of local anesthetic to numb the skin. I felt an uncomfortable pressure with the initial injection of dye and one of the positions they did the images in, but the key to a successful procedure is really to lay flat afterwards for 24 hours. I thought I was a perfect patient in doing the "stay flat" thing - only got up to go to the bathroom, and I still got the spinal headache. I would say one pillow only, and agree with the drink as much fluid as possible (have the straws that bend). My doctor actually recommended the Tylenol Tension Headache (no aspirin, just tylenol & caffeine). The blood patches do work immediately, then you still need to lay flat,but I will never to a myelogram on a Friday again! Do make sure you are not on any blood thinners like aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamin E etc.
  • Wow, that was totally one of the worst procedures I've ever had done. First of all, they had me report to ambulatory surgery at 11:30, and I waited in the waiting room until 12:30. Finally they called me back, drew some blood, and sent me over to the IR holding area to have my IV put in. Well, they stuck me FOUR times for the IV. On the third try they brought in the ultrasound machine and tried it in my upper arm. As she inserted the needle I felt this shock-like feeling down my left arm...very painful. She must have hit a nerve, because here it is 9 1/2 hours later and my forearm is still numb. After that I told her no more, so she had the doctor come in and talk to me. He explained that even though the risk of seizures is low, he likes to have IV access just in case, otherwise he'd have to call a code. I assured him I'd do my best not to seize. lol!

    I agreed to let them stick me one more time, but after that I was done. Well, luckily she got me on the last try. So I got on the table and they numbed me up and did the lumbar puncture. I definitely felt the electric shock down my left leg. Very strange sensation! I think I jumped a little because he had to remind me to stay still since he had a needle near my spine. Once he got it placed, he injected the dye and tilted the table forward. He warned me that the dye might cause a headache. Headache is an understatement. My head and the back of my neck hurt SO badly that it made me sick to my stomach. They were able to get the pictures and sent me for the CT scan.

    When I got back to the recovery room, they gave me zofran for the nausea and some Tylenol for the headache. They also gave me a liter of IV fluids, because he said it would help to flush the dye out faster and hopefully help with my headache. After a couple of hours I still felt nauseous and had the headache, but it wasn't as bad. The doctor told them to keep me longer if I still wasn't feeling better, but I just wanted to go home.

    I got home and ate dinner and then it hit...I was super nauseous and lightheaded walking around. Unfortunately I have three kids, two of which are under the age of 3, so I'm resting as much as I can. After I ate, my hubby took the kids outside and I laid on the couch for an hour or so. It's now 11:30 and I'm finally starting to feel better. I don't have a headache anymore and I no longer feel like I'm going to pass out everytime I stand up.

    I know they say to lie flat for 24 hours (at least), but obviously for me that is just not possible. I'm resting and laying down as much as possible, but tomorrow my husband will have to work and I'll be alone with the kids, so it'll be back to the grind. At what point are you in the clear from getting a spinal headache? If I were to get one, would it have happened already?

    Sorry this is insanely long. I go to the neurosurgeon on Tuesday to talk about possible surgery (their words, not mine) and to find out the results. On the one hand, I'd love some good news. On the other hand, I would love some answers. It's truly a catch 22.
  • We were in a bad car accident Feb 23 and the first pain I felt was in my head and neck, buy the next morning my entire spine hurt. I had a concussion the doctor said and sent me on for a full spine xray. That led to a consult with a neurosurgeon (only you really just see a nurse practioner) who ordered the myelogram. I've had 3 of them and was very apprehensive although I knew I had to have one - I can't have MRI's. They put the needle in at the L4-L5 and there was no return of CSF, moved up to L3-L4, same thing and it is at a teaching hospital and I was horrified as I realized what they meant when they said they were getting 'another' doctor. So after moving the needle (and me around) he finally got CSF return btwn L2-L3 and put the dye in. I was sedated and I remember tears a few times (I'm apprehensive but not one to cry) and groaning in pain. CT Scan itself was hard during the second part when they scanned my neck because of having my arms raised completely over my head - I can't do that - they had to do it for me. Okay fast forward - over the next couple days my back was sore but slowly got better......then I had bouts of bad pain (worse than before myelogram) but they would go away. Fast forward to MOnday, I woke up with pain shooting all the way down my leg and my foot and my big toe hurt, hips hurt, buttocks and it felt like somebody with a big boot and stomped my back. It's embarrassing but since that time, I'm having problems with urination - and I leak. I've called everyday begging to be seen, rules are you can't be seen by a different doctor in the practice and mine wasn't in till today and today they were too busy to even return my call. I have several bulging discs throughout my spine, and a herniated disc at L4-L5, and stenosis and a bunch of terms I don't understand yet. Has anyone had this happen? I am almost willing to have the surgery I said I'd never have - but with a doctor that you can't reach for 2 weeks? And then again, they all seem to have the same apathetic attitude. I dont' know who to trust. Anybody know anything about this? (and that thing about paying $38 to get a question answered is in my opinion a scam - what do I do call my doc's office and say aha I paid on line and they said blah blah blah so do this - don't think so)
    I am who I am!
  • If you are having issues with loss of bladder control, that is considered a medical emergency and you need to get to the ER. When you called to request an appt, did you tell them that you are experiencing these symptoms? If you cannot get in ASAP, then I would run, not walk, to the closest ER.
  • KimD592 said:
    If you are having issues with loss of bladder control, that is considered a medical emergency and you need to get to the ER. When you called to request an appt, did you tell them that you are experiencing these symptoms? If you cannot get in ASAP, then I would run, not walk, to the closest ER.
    Well we will see what they say today - if they call or not. Wednesday and so far today I feel slightly better - makes no sense, don't know why Tuesday was so awful and the pain on the 1-10 scale was a 12 and a 9 yesterday. The receptionist who is the gatekeeper of passing messages seems disinterested in my bladder issues. I've called and begged to be seen so much I don't think they believe me. The ER is a $200 co pay, but we have already decided that is what we will do. And I'm seeing one of the top 10 neuros here, hate to see what the bottom 10 would be like - and I think he's very good, he just has a not so great staff, but who's fault is that? I DO have an appt next Thursday and one way or another I will see him then (hubby also has appt) and he will hear about all this. I won't let someone do surgery on me if while he's on a 2 week vacation I can't be seen by one of the other docs in his practice. This morning, the pain is in the 5-6 range, and the bladder problems at the moment seem better. The more pain, the more bladder issues and I wish I felt comfortable saying all that happens - but it is so obviously a nerve problem. The plan at the moment is to see if I get the promised call back this morning (not holding my breath), see if I can get through the work day and then go from there. I'm afraid if my doctor's office doesn't think this is an emergency, will the ER? I'm not counting on it.

    Thank you so much for your advice! :)
    I am who I am!
  • If you tell them that you are having loss of bladder control, given your history, then YES, they will likely see it as an emergency. I hope that you hear back from the office ASAP. Keep us posted!

    On a side note, I started this thread almost a year ago. Wow...it's crazy to see how far I have come. I ended up having spine surgery in July and was diagnosed with AS in November. It's been a crazy year, for sure!
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