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The importance of investigation - Image is not everything

Hi Folks,
I am writing this testimonial to emphasize the importance of investigation and search for the root cause of symptoms.

In my case, I had a pain crisis in October, 2010 when I ended up in the ER taking morphine to overcome pain.
MRI done days after showed many problems with cervical. Since the images showed something very critical all the focus of my treatment was directed to the cervical. Fortunatelly, an excellent doctor asked me for an EMG or electromyography and indicated me a professional to do it. Direction was changed since then. EMG showed I have carpal tunnel syndrome and what I felt to be radiculopathy due to cervical issues is in fact a result of this carpal issue. Another MRI also showed that I have also shoulder issues that need to be treated by a specialist.
If I had not been submitted to this EMG I would be directing all efforts to the cervical that is not the main root cause of my symptoms, at least for the moment.
I am now in physiotherapy and hopefully I may be better in the short term.

My cervical issues are - of course - all still here with me but for the moment there are more important things to focus.

I hope somehow this testimonial may help you to direct your treatment with your doctor and to find your the root cause(s) of your problem(s)-symptom(s) as I feel I did.


"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional"

may prove to be true to all of us.



  • Thank you for this post and you are absolutely right! The majority of muscle pain is not related to the spine. This is why surgery is the last resort after fully investigating your symptoms. Never let a surgeon bully you into having surgery.

    For 1 year, I tried every therapy that was available. When I finally gave into invasive therapy by getting a procaine trigger injection into my trapezius muscle in December 2010, I had hopes of relief - it lasted only 2 hours. That's when both my PM doctor and I knew that it was absolutely coming from the spine.

    I do hope that those of you with pain fall in the category of muscular dysfunction so you CAN avoid surgery.
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • And sometimes the opposite is true as it was with me. I was told all of my problems were muscle related, shoulder and carpal tunnel. Nothing helped until my neck was taken care of with fusion. All of my symptoms have now become quiescent.


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  • Like marilpn I had the opposite experience. In 1983 a NS suspected a cervical herniation and carpal tunnel syndrome, so he ordered the appropriate tests. The definitive test was a myelogram, which showed what he said was a rarity - C5-6 herniation not just on one side of that level but both. Surgery was a resounding success, and I haven't had pain since. >:D< Best wishes >:D< , and keep us posted. Essmoe
  • Discograms are another way to help narrow down pain generators.
    I am amazed at how many people get surgery without tests such as the ones mentioned here.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • I had every MRI and Ct and Myleogram several times and never found anything. Wasnt till I had a discogram that they found the tears in my discs. Three the first time, and two the second. I would still be hurting bad if not for that test. Mris dont always show everything, I am glad I kept the fight up until I found the problem...
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