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Is an MRI worth the expense?

fmonteffmonte Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:53 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I made the mistake of attending a chiropractic seminar explaining their benefits. To make a long story short my neck always had limited range but no pain or cracking sounds. After 12 adjustments, I have been in constant pain whenever I move my neck(level 4 out of 10) now for 5 months and also when I move my neck from side to side it cracks in many different locations.(not real painful but very annoying). If I lay perfectly still on my back, the pain pretty much goes away.

I had an xray done by my primary doctor and the results came back negative. Now they want to see an MRI. My question is this: is spending $500(that I really can't afford right now)for the MRI worth it? What can it possibly tell me and how can it help in determining treatment? I am going to be really upset if it comes back negative and that money goes down the drain. Maybe I could have spent that $500 on something that can give me some relief. What would you do if you were me? Thank you in advance.

Frank
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Comments

  • Frank,

    My Chiropractor is whom discovered I had a "possible disk issue" and sent me for an MRI many years ago. That MRI probably helped keep me out of a wheelchair! It was discovered in my case to be my disk was herniated onto the cord.

    Now pain wise, I was on a good day a 4-5, on most days though, up around 7+ and was losing function in my right arm and left shoulder. You mention pain, but do you have any numbness, weakness, loss of function? Most times MRI's are called for if surgery is going to possibly be in play.

    It's hard for any of us to put ourselves in your shoes as to cost and affect. I can only go on my case, and given the pain, numbness etc., mine was worth every penny as they say. Please let us know what you decide, and how it goes.

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Thanks Brenda, no numbness, weakness, loss of function or pain down the arms or anything like that. I know a lot of people have it so much worse. One more quick question. I'm assuming your chiro took an xray first before the MRI, so did the xray not show the problem you had? Take care. Frank
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  • It is also good to have a baseline of your spine now to use in the future so that you can see changes over time.

    You can see so many problems, such as nerve compression, on MRI, where as you really can't on xray.

    It is expensive, and only you can decide if it is applicable to you. I would not want to have chiropratic manipulation without seeing the MRI results myself.

    SG
  • Hi Frank,

    Xray does not show very much.

    Example, my xray just said I have reversal of the curvature of the spine.

    My MRI showed bulging discs, ddd and Stenosis.

    Sorry you are having pain :(
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,746
    And welcome to S.H. forums. As SG said it's a starting point. A baseline.
    And you don't seem to be getting anything good with your Chiro. appointments and adjustments.
    Not many do. They made me worse years ago.
    Good luck, Jim
    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!
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  • fmonte said:
    Thanks Brenda, no numbness, weakness, loss of function or pain down the arms or anything like that. I know a lot of people have it so much worse. One more quick question. I'm assuming your chiro took an xray first before the MRI, so did the xray not show the problem you had? Take care. Frank
    Howdy Frank,

    Great to hear you aren't experiencing any issues "down range" if you will. As for my Chiro, yes initially (and too if you hadn't been to him for a year or more) does flexation and extension x-rays, and a straight frontal shot. He then measures the x-ray, checks alignment and space between the vertebra.

    My x-rays showed my cracked vertebra, and loss of disk height at the C7/T1 level, but the MRI was much more informative as to the status.

    An x-ray is great for bones, solid masses, checking hardware, but not real useful for seeing the health of your disks or nerve spacing. The MRI is great for soft tissue such as muscles, some vascular info, and for spiney purposes, our nerves, disks, and surrounding structure.

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • My pain management doctor told me that an MRI shows things that xrays can't. Xrays show bones. MRI's can show tissue, discs in your neck, etc... I recently had 2 MRI's done one of my neck and one on my lower back and it showed problems, that the xrays couldn't.
  • Thanks everyone. Wow, what a difference between the two tests. I had no idea. I am definitely going to get the MRI as soon as possible. Thanks again. Frank
  • Excellent! Please let us know the results when they come in. :)

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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