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MRI came back normal! Help please...

Sage1000SSage1000 Posts: 5
edited 01/14/2013 - 10:44 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
I posted before.. but a little info.. In Feb 2012 I came up on the edge of a counter while holding my 2yr old. I started experiencing mid back pain and went to see my PCP. She recommended PT or chiro. I started seeing the chiropractor a couple times a week to once for 2 months with no help. I went back to the dr, was referred to pain management who said there was nothing wrong and my pain was being exaggerated by the degenerated discs in the lumbar spine. I switched insurance groups and saw another dr who was finally willing to listen. My x-rays showed nothing. I was given a type of anti-inflammatory shot several times with a little relief that stopped working about 10days after.

Now, about a month ago my pain had doubled in the past couple of months. At T7-T8 I have severe tenderness to the touch. I cannot sit against something hard or have anyone touch that point directly on the spine. The muscles around it, and my ribs feel like a weight is putting pressure. It wraps to the sternum.. I wake up in pain, feel no relief all day, and go to sleep in pain. I'm so sore, stiff.. I got an approval on the MRI and finally felt hope. I opened the results yesterday and cried. It showed nothing. How is it possible?! How is it so painful to touch, so much pain everyday and the MRI showed nothing? I feel hopeless and embarassed to even call my doctor. I feel like I should see a specialist but what would he say? .. I'm looking for advice, I never see anyone say they are sore to the touch like this so I'm just really confused.. and I'm wondering why it's getting worse.. any advice please..


  • They did say you have degenerated disc in your spine, that is something
    That could be causing problems. Dont be embarrased. Ask for a specialist. My opinion is a neuro. Someone who deals with nerves. You are in pain, you should not have to live in pain. Dont take no for an answer. I had my mri read and they missed something the doc caught. So dont panic just yet.
    Ask for specialist. You are paying for the insurance, tell the doc what you want/expect.
  • In my experience an MRI can provide positive confirmation of a problem but is only part of the equation that also has to take into account an individuals physical condition, pain triggers etc. I had a Graf spinal stabilisation in 1997 after several months of agony. It was a new technique at the time, and my MRI did give indications of 2 herniated discs at L4/5/S1, although I understand actually only 1 disc needed repairing on surgery. In April 2011 I begun suffering again, and after 20+months of investigations and ups and downs I finally had a 2 level PLIF carried out 2 weeks today.Again my MRI gave some indication of disc issues, but my surgeon was not immediately convinced by this hence the various conservative treatments. However, during surgery it was very clear to both surgeons that my lower spine was extremely loose and hence post fusion my pain should subside.

    My point is that an MRI can only be part of the story, not the be all and end all, so as reesemay suggests above, see a specialist who should take into account not only the MRI but equally your symptoms and history. Good luck, hope you get the help you need
  • I was wondering how you are getting along? Were you able to get someone else to look at your MRI?
  • Hello,
    I just wanted to let you know I agree about what has been said. I also wanted to add, if you have 10 MRI films lined in a row with degenerative discs, that all show "nothing" there will be patients with symptoms. I've read alot about MRI's. Pls don't feel embarrassed albeit hard,trust me I understand. However, your pain is real. Try go-ogling annular tears/ discitis. you may be able to relate to one or both of those conditions. Your Dr (a specialist) I can't remember if you said you have one(sorry) anyway your Dr needs to lay his/her eyes on the film. If you don't have a neurosurgeon yet you might make an appt and take your films with you pls. This way you can be sure nothing was missed that is visible. It's frustrating I'm sure because you almost want something on there because you hurt so bad. Even if they say they can't see anything does NOT mean you "shouldn't" hurt. I hope they don't lead you to feel such, you know your body and you know something is different. Keep your head up so you can take care of your business. You can even inquire "at what point is an annular tear visible on MRI?" then they know you are informed and should not be dismissed. I feel for your circumstanstances pls feel free to PM if you have anything you want to talk about. and Take Care !
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