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Had needle EMG, Brain MRI w/ & w/o contrast

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:25 AM in Chronic Pain
Well, the EMG wasn't fun at all but not near as bad as I had stirred myself up to believe. The only thing it shows is that I have bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome (mild), my brain MRI came back remarkably normal as they put it. Now I am waiting on blood work to see if whatever the problem is will be found there. This is so frustrating and I feel that they are going to tell me that all of the pain and problems are in my head and leave it at that and stop pain meds because they can't find the cause. Thank God they didn't find anything serious with the MRI or EMG but if they had at least it would have been some answers.

When you have symptoms that you truly believe are related to your entire back being screwed up and they say the spine is fine considering, and you have symptoms of stroke or significant neurological damage and the tests come back normal other than CTS, it makes you feel alone. I just want to feel good again. Something is definately causing all of this. I guess all I can do is wait for the blood work and hope that if it doesn't show the problem that they will continue searching for the reason and not just slap a general diagnosis and leave it at that.

I know that my doc will stop my pain meds if something doesn't show up because she was going to stop them anyway because the specialists weren't sending her reports. She doesn't care and she made me sign a legal contract that I wouldn't go to any other doc, pharmacy, or person for my pain meds except her and that I had to keep absolutely every appt. like I would really cancel. It really pisses me off that she has started to treat me this way.


  • Try to look at it in a positive way; you have a serious condition that is as of yet not fully diagnosed; that is by far the most important thing to focus on getting solved. The contract just asks you to walk the same line as the rest of us, and is not unusual at all.

    Please share more of your story if you like; I have a feeling that you might have a lot more to share, and that someone here may be able to help you through your hard times. We've all had (or still have!) immense frustration and pain, don't feel so alone.. Good luck!


  • Hi I'm the new girl with a lot of questions

    Hello, my name is Tonya. Over the last 6 months I have learned that my back is falling apart. Heres what the xrays and non-contrast MRI's say:

    1. Grade II anterolisthesis of L5 on S1 with disc space narrowing and endplate degenerative change present. No significant spinal canal stenosis at this level. Mild to Moderate bilateral neural foraminal narrowing is present.

    2. Left paracentral posterior disc protrusion/extrusion at L4-L5 with associated annular disc tear. The disc extends posteriorly approx. 6 mm and inferiorly approx. 2-3 mm. There is narrowing of the left lateral recess without obvious nerve root impingement.(those are under impression, on first MRI 7/14/08).

    It also says that I have modic signal changes and vacuum gas phenomenon. Hemangioma on L1. There is also mild facet hypertrophy.

    Xrays 7/09/08

    Bilateral sponylolysis at the L5 level with grade II spondylolisthesis at the lumbosacral level. Advanced degenerative disc disease at the lumbosacral level.

    Old mild compression fractures throughout the mid and lower thoracic spine with associated mild to moderate degenerative changes and sigmoid scoleosis. Cervical kyphosis which could be developmental or the result of muscle spasm.

    MRI C-spine T-spine 10/13/08

    c4-c5 right posterolateral disc bulge/protrusion. Multiple varying bilateral levels of neural foramina narrowing. Mild disc bulges at the T4-T5, T6-T7, & T8-9 levels. Tound foci of signal alteration are noted involving the T4 and L1 vertebral bodies. These foci demonstrate increased signal on both long and TR sequences and are suggestive of hemangiomas. Small eccentric to the right disc bulge at the T4-T5 level.Central annular disc bulge at the T6-7 level with mild thecal sac effacemnent Eccentric to the right disc bulge at the T8-9 level. Mild encroachment on the right exiting nerve root at this level. Mild thecal sac effacement.

    I have bowel and bladder problems. Walk with a can. If I get up too fast from laying down I have an instant spinal headache. On pain meds continuously. The ortho doc I saw told me I had no restrictions other than pain tolerance and that he could fuse 2 levels of my lumbar spine and left it at that. I see a neurosurgeon on Oct. 23rd. I just don't know what some of this means. I am a mother of two and I am so concerned about being in a wheel chair or worse. I know they won't be able to fix everything. I am also wondering if anyone who has similar of even less symptoms has been eligible for disability and how much of a struggle it is.

    ANY IMPUT WOULD BE A BLESSING! I am sorry this is so long but if I want input I have to set it all out. Have also wondered about Cauda Equina Syndrome as I have so many of the symptoms. Thank you so very much.

    After all of this, I started having symptoms of a stroke, I have seen an ortho & neurosurgeon for my back, they said the only thing that needs to be done is a double fusion in my lumbar and that they are not worried about the rest of my back. They also said that my back has nothing to do with the numbness and tingling or sharp pains. They said that they don't worry about the hemangiomas or anything else that has been going on and to see the neurologist. The neurologist ordered the MRI of brain, EMG/Nerve conduction study and blood work. Results so far are above. Still no word on blood work. I don't think I have left anything out, other than blurry vision.
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  • Wow, your situation is so complex and I'm guessing not too fun.. You'll be ok though; if you can find a way to laugh each day, that really helps. So..

    I think, in my opinion at least, that you are actually pretty well educated about what is going on. Some of the uncertainties you have are, going to remain that way until your nerve test, brain scan, etc. Your surgeon and neurosurgeon's diagnoses will tell you what the situation is and what to expect; here all we can do for now is just wish you the best with everything.

    What state do you live in, in regards to disability? I'd check your state web page for disability benefits, for eligibility info. Usually if you worked in the last 12-15 months for at least a couple months and pulled in a few grand or, hopefully, more, than your condition definitely qualifies you, just as long as your doctor/surgeon is willing to fill out their part of the paperwork, and PUT you on disability. Social security disability is the other option and mostly relates to *permanent* disability, and is something you would look at maybe after your surgery, definitely at the least after you have ALL of your diagnoses in order. That's a federal one and has completely different qualifications, forms, etc; it's a HUGE deal compared to temporary disability.

    When is the first MRI you talked about from, the one for your lower back? Oh there, july. The section one part..
    No significant spinal canal stenosis at this level. Mild to Moderate bilateral neural foraminal narrowing is present."..

    That suggests to me NO cauda equina at all, however, it could be from the impingement at l4-l5; your neurosurgeon should be able to help you clarify that, or maybe search google, I thought it was only l5-s1 and required impingement there, but I'm just guessing; ask your doc for the real answer. Some of the symptoms can be from distress, medication, and from other conditions.

    Most importantly in this whole post: what cauda equina symptoms are you experiencing, how bad, and for how long/since when? If it just came up NOW basically, then its something you should call your doctor about ASAP; don't ignore those!

    Lastly if you don't mind sharing, what meds to you take every day? PM me if you don't want to tell everyone, or don't if you want to keep it private; I am always curious what is being prescribed; some people are so under medicated it is a crime. I pay a lot of attention to pharmaceuticals, and how they affect all of us who are managing our pain.

    Keep your head on straight, know that you will be ok, and that life will always be worth living. Don't be too afraid; sometime you are going to probably have to have a surgery, but it will ok. Keep friends and family and loved ones around, you WILL need their help love and support.

    My back needs a nap.. Take care

  • You are right on track with what I was wondering. Whether any of this could be drug related. Many of us are on so many drugs and they all have their own strange effects on us, that when combined with something else could start to create issues after a while.

  • im so sorry with all that your going through and not getting the answers you deserve.

    i also have to agree with the above statements.
    now you said a ortho recomended a fusion. did you discuss this any further with them??? like what your percentage rate would be if you were fused????
    i mean if you have bladder/bowel issues now along with the other issues, mabye that would be in your best interest??? i mean i don't know i do not have exact answers or guidence for you.
    spondylolithesis can be very painful and uncomfortable depending on the degree. iv said this over and over. i dealt with it for only 8 months. i could not take it anymore and went to my ortho.
    i only had a slight herniation at L5 and S1 had the spondy.
    i jumped on the fact of a fusion to stablize that part of my spine. i am so very GLAD i did!! yes you will read i did not fuse, but that was due to other underlying medical issues that had nothing to do with my back.
    yes i still get deep burning pain here and there. i don't think i will ever be pain free. but it sure HELPED SO MUCH ;) ;)
    not telling you this is what you should do.
    all drs are going to have different opinions.

    also i take it your getting your meds from your personal care dr??
    or did i mis understand and you are going to pain managment???
    i would call the hospitals where you had all your testing done and you can pick up the reports yourself and give them to her. iv had to do that on a occasion when seeing a ortho or neuro.
    mine are automatically sent to my primary.

    i wish i had more answers,solutions etc. but of course i do not because i am not a dr. darn wish i was so i could be on a cruise right now :D :D and it would save me alot of hassle.
    we have to be our own health advocates sometimes as you know.

    keep us up to date on your progress. i feel your symptoms i really do!! don't give up the FIGHT!!!!

    terri >:D< >:D< >:D<
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  • Lortab 7.5/500 one and a half in the more one 6 hours later and one - one and a half before bed and that is only because she told me that I had to take it that way instead of one every 4-6 hours for pain. It never really takes the pain away not even at one every 4 hours. That is all she has me on other than my thyroid medication which doesn't seem to be helping either.

    As for Cauda Equina symptoms, I have had them on and off for about 13 years. Increasing over the last 6 months. They say that from my MRI films that is cannot be CES. Thank you for your words of encouragement.
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