New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
[ << Previous Thread | Next Thread >> ]

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 19
   Posted 5/2/2008 6:50 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey guys, a quick introduction....I'm a 37 yr old married mom of 2. I've been suffering from fibromyalgia and tendonitis for about 7 yrs now. Most of my pain is in my upper back/shoulder area. I have horrible knots in my shoulder blade area and have tried everything: chiropractors, physical therapy, heat, ice, massage, every muscle relaxer known to man....All to no avail. My pain doc is scheduling me for my first MRI to look at my upper back.
I also suffer from sciatica which has been getting worse lately. My question is this: Can they also look at my lower back to see what's causing my sciatica? The doc is ordering the MRI for my upper back, so does that mean that's all they will look at? Or can they see everything from the MRI?
I hope my question makes since! Also, what can I expect? I've never had one of these.
Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks :-)

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10404
   Posted 5/2/2008 7:18 AM (GMT -6)   
If you want lower back, talk to your doctor; he or she will have to add it to the order.

Assuming you're having a standard (rather than "open") MRI, here is how it works: you'll go to the MRI center and check in. When you are taken back, you'll be instructed to remove any clothing that has metal on it. Be sure to remove your bra, because most bras have metal hooks, etc. Also remove any jewelry, dentures or partials, glasses, etc. The reason for this is that the strong magnetic field generated by the MRI causes the molecules in metal to vibrate back and forth, creating heat which can burn you.

Once you're ready, the tech will help position you on the table. There will likely be pads to help you maintain your position without moving for several minutes. You'll be given earplugs or headphones to protect your hearing during the procedure, as the machine makes an extremely loud, "chattering" sound. This sound will go on and off numerous times during the procedure, so don't think you're finished when it stops. Then the table, and you, slide into the tube-shaped MRI machine. You lie there and do nothing for a while, then they pull the table back out and you're finished.

You shouldn't have any problems unless (like me) you're claustrophobic. If that's the case, ask your doctor for pre-medication (mine uses Xanax) and arrange to have someone drive you to the procedure.

Good luck with your MIR!
Moderate to severe left-sided UC (21 cm) diagnosed 2001.
Asacol, Rowasa, Pentasa, Prednisone, Entocort, Azathioprine
Avascular necrosis in both shoulders is my "forever" gift from steroid therapy.
Colazal,  Remicade, Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri. In remission since April, 2006.
Co-Moderator UC Forum
Please remember to consult your health care provider when making health-related decisions.

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 19
   Posted 5/2/2008 11:22 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the info!! I'll ask him about it next week. He wants me to start coming in next week for a series of injections in my hip for the sciatica. I'm guessing someone here knows about those too?? I have a great pain management doc. Up until now, though, he has only treated me with meds. I'm glad we are taking it a step further!! Right now I take paxil and lyrica on a regular basis, and vicoden and flexeril as needed. Anyway, thanks again, glad to find some folks who know what it's like living with pain as a constant companion!!!

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 184
   Posted 5/2/2008 2:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Achymom,
I am sorry you are suffering so and there is not a lot I can do about that but I did notice that you said you have tried all the muscle relaxers out there and are now on Flexirel. I know some people get relieve from that but not me. Like you I went through what I thought were all the muscle relaxers out there but I did finally find one that works wonders for me. It's called Soma or Carosoprodol and the dosage I am on is 350mg. 4 times a day. I don't think I could live with-out it as it actually does work for me. It is strong and some dr.s don't like to prescribe it because of that very fact. But if you have tried everything else w/o any relieve you might want to talk to your dr. about it.
I do have to say that a lot of people really can't tolerate it and find that after taking it they can't stay awake or even function. My brother and my mom for instance seem to get high off it which is not a good reason to take any drug yet I only get relief and that's all I'm looking for.
So if you have not tried it maybe talk to your dr. about it. Who knows you just might be like me and find that it allows all your muscles to relax especially your back muscles. But you should probably take it for the first time when you don't have any plans and even have someone near by just to be safe.
Good luck with your MRI and have a pain free day if possible.

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 19
   Posted 5/3/2008 7:23 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey Toritoo, thanks so much! I HAVE however tried SOMA though. The reason I chose Flexeril is because I just can't function on the Soma. I have a 5 yr old son and a 8 yr old daughter and everything that comes along with 2 busy kids. So Flexeril is the only one I can take during the day and still keep up with everyone. I'm glad it is working so well for you. Thanks again!!

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23544
   Posted 5/3/2008 11:14 AM (GMT -6)   
Are you getting the steroid injections in your hips? I'm not sure if they use the same procedure but I have had 2 series of epidural injections in my SI joint which were xray guided. The first series worked for about 2 months - felt great! But then the pain started coming back so I went in for the second series and it didn't work as well.

I had a MRI about a month or so ago of my head and lower back. I sort of freaked when I was first put into the machine but once I calmed down and actually started using the "thumping" as part of my mental music! :) I would make up songs when I was in there lol. It's not that bad and if you are having one with contrast, they use a needle in your arm to administer the med. That is not bad either. I think the MRI was one of the easiest (albeit a little uncomfortable) test I've had to have.

I'm glad you are doing well on Flexeril. I couldn't function when I was on that. I felt like a zombie and it didn't really help much with the pain. So I tried Skelaxin which worked better for me. It's just a matter of finding what works for you.
Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC
~Left sided Uc-'92-Colazal(9 daily),6mp(50-100mgs),Prilosec,Biotin,Forvia,Pro-Bio**Unable to tolerate Asacol, Rowasa or Canasa**~Allergies-Singulair
~Secondary Reynauds Syndrome-'04-Norvasc~Spinal Stenosis~Sacroiliitis-epidural injections
To help Healingwell - click here: DONATE


Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 5/3/2008 6:02 PM (GMT -6)   
hi Achymom and everyone else!

Re MRI's: I haven't had one since my fusion, but I had at least 8 of them over the past 1.5 years. Non-invasive and once you get past the "lying in the tube" factor, can be quite relaxing (with ear plugs, of course.) I always asked for a little cloth for over my eyes, as I didn't want to look up and see the top of the tube only inches from my face...arrrrugh! So you might consider that. I also asked my techs to tell me ahead of each image how long it would take them to capture it....some are really short pictures, like 2 minutes, while others can last up to 5. You're not supposed to move, so by knowing "how long" I had to lie totally still, it helped the claustrophopic factor reduce. They would say "OK, this one is going to take 4 minutes...are you ready?" etc And also that way, if you need to cough or something, you can do that w/ advance notice.

Also, if they do your lumbar area, they use a special spine coil, so if you want to have that area included, your doc would probably have to RX it, as they have to re-arrange the machine if they go from upper to lower spine. (Adds to the $$ and they are $$ to begin with. All of mine, per my insurance receipts, were between $2,500 and $3,000 each.)

Good luck---I also, like Red did, made up little "jazzy" music pieces to go w/ all the thumping and clicking...actually, that part was almost fun!

I'm betting you'll have a good story to share w/ us afterwards! It's not bad at all! don't worry about it!


PALady: Funny mix of winter/spring weather today...but sun/warm tomorrow. You'll be getting our funny stuff, haha! we're done w/ it now!
Nov. 06-- Lammy @ L4, removal of spinal cystic tumor @ L4/5(benign)
Dec. 06--Re-operation for post-surgical spinal fluid leak.  2nd surgery caused sciatic nerve damage & radiculopathy in R leg/foot,  increased spinal instability (grade 1 spondy, 17%), epidural scar tissue binding nerve roots, damaged facet joints & worsened DDD @ L4/5
Jan.  08--PLIF fusion/discetomy surgery w/pedicle screw instrumentation @ L4/L5, another lammy (@ L/5 this time) & bone marrow harvest from left iliac crest for packing bone around disc cages after total discectomy @ L4/5. Good relief from sciatica & leg/nerve pain, tho some residual CP--hope to be "Healing Well"...

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/3/2008 7:21 PM (GMT -6)   
It's intriguing how many of us found some way to incorporate the noise of the MRI - making up songs, etc. I pretended it was a percussion band! My last MRi was an open machine, which I didn't know of until I got there. Although they're a lot easier to take (they put earphones and I could pick the radio station I wanted to listen to and you could kinda hear the music), but I've heard the open ones may not be as powerful. I think once you get used to the tube, it's not so bad. Also, the cervical spine one I had years ago was the worst because they tape your chin so you don't move and you're not allowed to even swallow while the machine is running. And of course the tech keeps says "don't swallow" and it's sort of like a kid needing to go to the bathroom 2 minutes into the car ride.

So if you're anxious I'd do what someone suggested and take a muscle relaxant, but have someone drive you.

Lakeside - kind of yucky, rainy here today with a peak or so of sun. My crabapple tree is just starting to open so I hope we don't get any big cold temps!


Post Edited (PAlady) : 5/3/2008 7:24:43 PM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 5/4/2008 11:17 AM (GMT -6)   
I agree with the stiffness in the back, Gramps. Most of my MRI's lasted about 50 minutes & that's a LONG time to lie so still on such a hard surface when you are already in pain. Like you, they had to literally "lift" me to a sitting position afterwards & when I'd get home, the spasms would start.....

But it is still the best way to DX so many things & gives an excellent "picture" of what's in there & what'll need to be done. Compared to a myelogram or a disco----!!! MRI's are the way to go! Painless in itself and non-invasive, 2 important consideratons w/ all the tests we spineys always need!

Haven't had one now after my fusion; hear they can't get as clear a result. Doc's been doing plain x-rays, as he thinks that's the best for now. Probably an MRI this summer, just to make sure everything is going well. Does your hardware heat up, anyone who's had one after instrumentation? Sure hope not!

Nov. 06-- Lammy @ L4, removal of spinal cystic tumor @ L4/5(benign)
Dec. 06--Re-operation for post-surgical spinal fluid leak.  2nd surgery caused sciatic nerve damage & radiculopathy in R leg/foot,  increased spinal instability (grade 1 spondy, 17%), epidural scar tissue binding nerve roots, damaged facet joints & worsened DDD @ L4/5
Jan.  08--PLIF fusion/discetomy surgery w/pedicle screw instrumentation @ L4/L5, another lammy (@ L/5 this time) & bone marrow harvest from left iliac crest for packing bone around disc cages after total discectomy @ L4/5. Good relief from sciatica & leg/nerve pain, tho some residual CP--hope to be "Healing Well"...

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/4/2008 12:17 PM (GMT -6)   
I had an MRI a couple of months ago because there was no improvement in my pain. My surgeon said all the hardware he put in me was compatible with MRI's, so that was good. I had an X-ray about 6 weeks after the surgery to check the fusion process. When I talked with my surgeon after the MRI, that's when he said he wanted to try a "traditional" surgery because there was still soft tissue that could be causing my pain. But I asked him how the fusion was going and he said an MRI wasn't the best way to tell that - an x-ray was actually better for purposes of evaluating the fusion.

I do know you need to have them with contrast (the dye) after you've had surgery, I guess so things show up better.

And speaking of tables, the worst are the ones for the bone scans - those narrow metal tables that they squeeze you into and there's absolutely no padding or lumbar support. Even though the test itself it painless, beingin those positions on lousy tables makes everything 10X worse!

Sunny here today Lakeside....don't send me bad weather. I want my tree to bloom without having the blossoms blown off in a day!!


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 6927
   Posted 5/5/2008 8:32 AM (GMT -6)   
The MRI people were laughing at me, because I fell asleep and started to snore. Evidently this is not normal...LOL I think it is like being back in the womb...
Forum Co-moderator
We will find a way, or make one.-Hannibal (crossing the Alps in the 15th Century on war elephants)
Praise in public, chew in private.
Make sure your suffering has meaning....
All suggestions/options/opinions are caveated with please consult with your local health care provider...

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 155
   Posted 5/6/2008 6:05 AM (GMT -6)   
I hope your MRI goes well
I also am having a Lumbar one soon, and wanted one don of the entire spine.. due to some pain I have from an ol car aciident....
I was told they do them in sections... so I jsut hope that the MRI will show somthing that the Xrays didn't

I am still expereiencing pain.... and some really bad days

WCB has decided that I have too much preexisting osteio arthristis.... to think it could be something else casueing my pain & disfunction.. and walking problems

I keep thinking LIGAMENT... something...
who knows really we are a mass of muscles , nerves, jionts, vessles, layers of tissues...
and as my Neuro suregon said

he even knows only a little piece of the puzzle..

I am going to ahve FIGHT for my rights...

any ays...
I didnt mean to vent
Just hope all goe well with your MRI..
let us know
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their Strength, they shall mount up on wings as eagles, they shall run & not grow weary, they shall walk & not faint..."  Ish   40 v. 31 
Sjrogrens Syndrome, Asthema, Chronic Fatigue, Chronic Pain, Head aches, Migraines, Gastro Intestinal ProblesmFibro Myalgia , Kidney Stones, Esophegial Spasms,(SI joint,   low mechanical back pain..L4 & L5 Vertebrae Misaligned,  Spinal Stenosis and Degenerative Disc Disease, Bulging Disc, anterolisthesis L4 L5L4 -- S1 pain  caused by osteoarthristis ,bone spurs, causing pinching or pressure on spinal chord 

New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
Forum Information
Currently it is Monday, August 21, 2017 4:26 AM (GMT -6)
There are a total of 2,858,092 posts in 313,678 threads.
View Active Threads

Who's Online
This forum has 155192 registered members. Please welcome our newest member, fatema mernissi.
250 Guest(s), 10 Registered Member(s) are currently online.  Details
wwwvvvvvvv11, RedLabel, alunke82, rthyrtcbgfbgf02, fatema mernissi, godfred, jwentw, halbert, Jack & Diane, SFSFR

Follow on Facebook  Follow on Twitter  Follow on Pinterest

©1996-2017 LLC  All rights reserved.

Advertise | Privacy Policy & Disclaimer