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apprehensive about CT Myelogram

HeavyFDHHeavyFD Posts: 10
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Lower Back Pain
what's up everyone,
I'm a 38 yo male with no real medical history except pancreatitis. I'm a paramedic for the fire department here in San Antonio. I originally injured my lower back in Jan 2010 when I was thrown in the back of the ambulance, landing lower back first on the shelf. X-Ray and MRI was negative. I was off of work for about a month and went back against my doctors advice...work comp checks just don't cut it. About 11 months later in Dec 2011, while lifting a patient, i felt something give way in my lower back and felt like something was pushing against my skin from the inside out. X-Ray and MRI negative for anything again. They stated minimal narrowing between L5/S1 with mild facet arthropathy. Since...I have had lower back pain constantly with pain mainly down the left leg and sometimes the right. Recently the pain has worsened and is down both legs constantly. I have went through physical therapy, lumbar ESI which gave me good relief for a couple weeks...which they ate still billing me for after work comp rescinded their approval, medial branch block which made my back hurt worse...which doesn't make sense to me considering all they did was numb nerves....should've either gotten better or stayed the same. In April 2011, I saw a spine surgeon who requested a CT Myelogram which was denied because comp is onlu accepting sprain/strain and I have been off work and in a battle with them ever since. My chiropractor, while looking at my old and new films saw what he believed to be a fracture of the L5 lamina and sent the films to an orthopedic radiologist for review. It came back that I had bilateral pars fractures at L4 and L5 with an elongation of the fracture at L5 by 3mm. Well it seems work comp said "oh shit" and are now approving the CT Myelogram and have called saying they were sending me out a prescription card...a year later. I retained an attorney today which I probably should've done a year ago...but just took it on good faith that comp would do what was right...stupid mistake. Anyway...all I have read on here are the horror stories about the Myelogram. The medial branch block was pretty damn uncomfortable and I have heard that the Myelogram is a lot worse...yet not as bad as a Discogram. Has anyone had this procedure done recently? I'm hoping that it's because only the people that have had bad experiences look for a place to vent and the people that had good experiences just go about their lives...lol. Realistically what kind of pain can I expect DURING the procedure? I can tolerate any pain as long as I'm at home...I'm just a little apprehensive about the pain I can't do anything about while I'm strapped to a table with a needle in my spine. No part about it sounds good. Is it more just pressure?...how many people felt the shocking pain down their legs?...etc..reallh curious about the whole thing. Oh...and my wife is due with our first baby in a week...wondering if it would be better to try and squeeze it in, in the next couple of days...or maybe wait till the baby is a couple weeks old...any suggestions would be appreciated.


  • HI Chris,

    First let me say welcome to spine-health. It sounds like you have read some threads, but there are positive ones out there as well. I personally had a CT/myelogram of my entire spine a year ago. while I won't say I was at a picnic I was not also in hell either. It is not the injection that hurts so much it is if there is something in the space where the dye travels it hits the nerves and yes it smarts. Good news that only last a few minutes while they shoot the pics. Yes getting in the position for them to inject the dye is not easy, but you can do it. The whole procedure for injecting the dye and taking the pics is no more than a half hour or so. You might then have to wait to get into the CT but your left lying down so all is good.

    My advice is take some meds if your worried or anxious they can give you some valium. Just be sure to follow the orders about lying down after wards, as the spinal headache is no fun(had it from a knee surgery and using a block), but it is easy to avoid. I have had 4 ct/myelograms in the past 6 years, and trust me they are not as bad as you think. Think of the information they are getting to help get you better so you can get back to your life.
  • i'm pretty sure I came across one of your replies to another thread...i remember the headache from the knee surgery. yeah...i know its a great tool for helping me get better. i've heard it referred to as a surgeons road map. i really hope they figure it out though. i'm one of the minority in that i love my job and i can't stand not being able to do it...not to mention the amount of money i have lost with comp dickin me around for over a year. my dad had a myelogram about 35 years ago and he says the headache is still some of the worst pain he's ever felt in his life. am really just more concerned with the procedure itself. it's refreshing to hear a "not too bad" response about it. i remember being concerned about the ESI and i didn't feel a thing...and then not neimg concerned about the medial branch block and that thing sucked...lol....so hopefully it's more like the first experience. i'm thinking i should wait till after the baby is here because i know with my luck...i'll be on the table and she will go into labor...lol
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    There are a lot of horror stories about the CT Myelograms. But seriously.....it was a piece of cake! No problems, No pain

    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • jesus j.howie...read your medical hx and i guess compared to that...the myelogram was nothing...sorry to hear all that. i'm kinda worried about complications myself since it'll be a work comp doc cutting me open eventually...wishing you a pain free day my friend
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