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ruptured disc not showing up??

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
Has anyone had an MRI NOT show a herniated disc, but they found out later they actually had one? Just curious, because I have so much pain that gets worse with lifting (even when my back is straight). It just seems that scar tissue couldn't cause this much pain, especially when not that much shows on the MRI. Is there another test that would show it up better?



  • The real kicker is some people have no pain whatsoever and they might have a huge herniation-whereas others have a lot of pain and the herniation appears small.

    MRI's with contrast may show some herniations better, as well as CT myeograms. Discuss them with your doctor. If I had pain I would want to get to the bottom of it. In fact-that is exactly what I had to do-insist on a CT myeogram because my neurologist was certain I had a pinched nerve in my brachial plexus and not in my neck since the MRI didn't show much was going on. Boy, was he wrong when the dye stopped at c5 and c7 and showed severe root compression.
    Good Luck

    (PS That was my first surgery 10 years ago, not the one that was just done 12-4-08 for those who might have seen my name in other postings.)
  • Thanks for the info, Turtle. I am on my way to investigating on-line about ct-myelograms now. Just want to make sure it would show up a small herniation as well as a large one. That's what I had before - a very small one. But the pain was horrible (still is after surgery). I already set up the appt. with my doctor to discuss having this done.

    How has your recent surgery gone for you?

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  • I'd get a second opinion on reading your MRI. I had two MRIs done and the docs said there was nothing wrong on the first. Different doc saw annular tear in L5-S1 in my second. I had him look at the first and he saw the tear in my first MRI too!! They were taken about a year apart.

    As you may have guessed, I've stuck with this second doc, he's been pretty good. He did say that the radiologist did not do a very good job on either MRI. They apparently didn't go down far enough to see well in the L5-S1 area.

  • I would love to have all that done around here to help my back. The problem is... I watch children for a living. I have to bend to get down to their level and do activities with them. I can't change that. I can't work outside my home because I have to stop when the pain starts, which means... no one would want me to work for them (I have carpal tunnel, cubital tunnel and other joint problems that limit how long I type for, etc.). So, in-home work is all I have. I am very limited. I have my son do a lot for me right now. And I feel horrible about having to keep asking him for help. I don't feel it's his fault that I have this problem. If daycare parents saw that I needed assistance, I'd be out of this job too.

    I've just been scheduled for a CT myelogram. Surprise - it's the same day as your surgery - Christmas Eve (day). This is out-patient though. I'm not too worried about the pain - I've had the procedure done before. If it hurts, it hurts. It's worth the pain to find out more info. Still trying to get a procedure/diagnosis code so that my insurance will cover it. The hospital's having a heck of a time figuring out the procedure code - not sure why. Blue Cross will probably deny it if it gets too complicated. Personally, I'm thinking the procedure code may have to be two - one for the CT and one for the myelogram. (Does this make sense??)

    I'm still excited to hear about the lady in your doctor's office. This is hope for all of us with scar issues. It shows that there may be a way to solve the whole scar-tissue dilemma. Your doctor doesn't want to give out his name? Can I ask why? Doesn't he want more patients? (Just curious. I bet he'd get lots of patients on here, being that he has ideas in regards to scar tissue.)

    I'm hoping the info. you've shared will help lots of people on here.

  • Zach,
    My pain doesn't really come and go. However, certain positions make it better. If I squat down a lot, that increases the pain. If I lay on my back or stomach, that decreases the pain. I almost always feel something in my leg or outside of my foot.

    If your surgery goes well, would you consider giving me your doc's name on my e-mail? (Or maybe give me the description of the procedure so I can share it with my doc.) I don't know if my neuro is going to do the same procedure as yours or not. But (just like everybody else) I want to get rid of my pain no matter what it takes. Even when the pain's not bad, it's exhausting to constantly be fighting it as you do work around the house, shop, or whatever.

    I will have to check into the whole billing thing some more. What you said about the two charges is pretty much what I was thinking too. The gals in the office, however, get annoyed when I suggest anything. I don't know what it is about doctor's office workers. When you have too many questions, they get "antsy" and the whole tone of their voice changes. (Discouraging when you're already dealing with pain and unanswered questions.)

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  • Zach,
    Thank you for the info. Yes, I will go to the website you mentioned and do some reading. You live quite a ways from me, as does your doctor. But, I still appreciate the information and I'd like to see what the organization is all about.

    Got the billing thing taken care of. I'm relieved. Everything will be 100% covered for me in regards to the CT/myelo. (Amazing how much work I had to do myself... If only I could be paid for my troubles. :) )My son also has to have surgery - knee surgery (torn ACL). So, money is going to get tighter and tighter around here. Our insurances aren't the best, since I run my own business.

    Your doctor sounds like the best one I've heard about in awhile. So, I bet your surgery will go well. He sounds very accomplished.

  • I know what you're saying. It's bad enough that we're in pain constantly, let alone, the money issues. Seems like the medical system would be more caring, since these are things people actually can't help. But don't get me started on insurance and medical professionals. I have a lot of opinions in regards to the whole system in this country, as I'm sure everyone else does here.

  • HI,

    I had 2 mri's four months apart, the one in august 2008 showed up a ruptured disc, but 4 months later new mri, showed my body absorbed it. i posted both of my mri's here on a post. so i guess you could of had one and it healed.

    but also i still have pain and numbness even though its not seen really on the second mri.

    Always ask you doctor, i am giving you advice on my personal experience only. Good luck. BTW. I had a mri with and with out contrast the second time.

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