Brain MRI/Spine MRI

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millymovie
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/27/2008 12:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone -

I am new to this board (and to posting on boards in general) and am in the middle of trying to figure out if I have MS or if something else is going on. What I am trying to understand is when the neurologist will order a spinal scan? My neuro has ordered a brain MRI with contrast, but in reading I've noticed lesions may be found on the brain or the spine. Can anyone shed any light on this for me - why one test would be ordered and not the other?

In case it's helpful I'll list the symptoms I've experienced:

Numbness in right foot/ankle/shin
Numbness in left foot toes (disappeared after 1 day)
Numbness/pain in right side of mid-back
Numbness in left upper gums
Pain in right front of thigh/groin
Pain in lower back right side
Pain in left shoulder blade area
Episodes of dizziness (more of a fogginess, disorientated feeling)

Thanks very much in advance!

rhondab
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 2146
   Posted 3/27/2008 1:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Milly!

Welcome to the board! I hope u'll find this is a good experience and wil feel comfortable posting any question u may have. This is a fantastic community of people who really work hard to support each other. I'm so glad u've found us!

U'r doc may feel u'r symptoms lead to a possible issue/lesion on the brain. We have another member here who is fantastic in explaining lesion location vs symptom...maybe she'll be along soon to post as well. U'r doc may also want to START there and move on to an mri of the spine if the brain mri proves to be fruitless.

U'r symptoms do sound like some ms symptoms...but keep in mind that they could be many things! Unfortunately there are many ms mimicers...so very likely u'r doc ordered a plethora of tests to try to eliminate some. Hang in there friend and just try really hard to be patient. Try not to diagnose u'rself...that can lead u down a miserable road too. For now maybe just start a journal of u'r symptoms. Note when they appeared, how long they lasted and how they felt. U'll prob also want to try to get copies of all the tests results that are being done. This is a good idea in case u ever need to get a second opinion or for providing a baseline later.

Take good care of u'rself and please do ask any questions u may have. We'll all do the best we can to get u'r answers.
rhonda
Co-Moderator, MS Forum
 
*~*Sometimes the Lord calms the storm. Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.*~*
 
Things that make u go hummmm......
*I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be without sponges.*
*One day without sunshine is like...um..well...night?*


uppitycats
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2135
   Posted 3/27/2008 1:57 PM (GMT -6)   

Usually neuros will start with the brain MRI because lesions most often show up there first.  A spinal MRI may be ordered later if nothing shows up on the brain MRI, or through other testing.

As Rhonda said, though, there are lots of disorders -- some of the neurological, some metabolic -- that "look like" MS on the outside. So the doctor will want to rule out things like thyroid problems, diabetes, other autoimmune disorders, infections, all sorts of other things, before deciding that you might have MS.  You may be sent off to have a spinal tap (or lumbar puncture), for example, or have a bunch of blood drawn to look for some of these other things, or have evoked potential testing done, where your brain waves are measured.

I'm sorry you're having problems, and know the waiting is a challenge.  Don't be afraid to ask questions; we'll try to help.


...I am not a doctor, nor health professional, and don't pretend to be one, here.....


Gretchen1
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 3167
   Posted 3/27/2008 1:58 PM (GMT -6)   

Hey Millymovie,

Welcome to the board.  As you have probably figured out, we will not diagnose you or even tell you if we think you have MS.  There are just a ton of things that can look like MS.  You will need to wait on your doctor and see what he says and what the MRI shows if anything.  My doc started with brain MRI then eventually went to neck and back.  I am not sure why they always start with the brain but that is pretty standard.  From what I understand, and I am by no means an expert, most often lesions show up in the brain.  Some people have brain lesions and spinal lesions.  It supposed to be quite rare to have only spinal lesions.  So the brain seems to be a good place to start. 

You definitely have quite a list of symptoms.  Again, welcome and feel free to post and ask questions.
 
Love and prayers,
Gretchen       co-moderator MS board       diagnosed with MS July 2006


dealin83
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 3/27/2008 9:03 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome milly,
 Your neuro probably ordered the brain MRI first beacause as far as i know that is typically where the lesions would show up first. Don't quote me, I am not a doctor, but in the reading i have done since being DX that is what I found. I had alot of the same symptoms when i was waiting to find out what was going on. I know how irritating that can be...the waiting game..but hang in there. Stay positive. I hope things work out for you! Don't hesitate to ask questions here, this a great support system with alot of people that can give you some answers you are looking for or link you to somewhere that can. best wishes
 
 

millymovie
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/31/2008 8:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you all so much for the information and the warm 'welcomes' - I really, really appreciate it!

Sweetlydia66
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 260
   Posted 3/31/2008 5:55 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Millie,
Welcome to the board. You found a great place. I'm so sorry for all your going thru right now. It is a frustrating road, and i sure hope you get some answers soon. Hang in there.
Lynn
Dx MS Dec 06, Started Tysabri March 2008, Baclofen, Cymbalta


KAS1
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 161
   Posted 3/31/2008 8:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Millie,

when I had my first brain MRI, they actually did the top of my spine at the same time.....even though the doc called it a "Brain MRI".....Not sure if this is just standard in New Zealand???? Hope it goes well for you, waiting for tests and results is never easy!

Kas
Not diagnosed
 
Neuro says he'd "bet on me having MS"
 
IF YOU CAN'T SEE THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL...
GO DOWN AND LIGHT THE BLOODY THING!!!


mojo
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 4/1/2008 11:13 AM (GMT -6)   
since my spinal mri's were first, just wanted to add....
symptoms indicated nerve damage in my spinal column - complete / uniform numbness (right, left, front, back) from just below shoulder height down (arms, torso, legs). mri confirmed lesion in spine (neck) where these nerves meet. was one of those "alleged" rare cases of spinal lesion(s) only for the first 6 or so years...symptoms were always uniform on the right and left sides.

yr neuro is likely considering yr symptoms are originating from the brain...not spine.

plse remember, dr's can't "test" for ms...and must first rule out all other symptom explainations...and evaluate what's left. yr patience is scariest test ahead of you...hang on tight...don't forget to breathe...and don't forget to laugh.

KAS1
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 161
   Posted 4/5/2008 1:34 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Mojo....have to say that I love your advice and attitude!

Kas
Not diagnosed
 
Neuro says he'd "bet on me having MS"
 
IF YOU CAN'T SEE THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL...
GO DOWN AND LIGHT THE BLOODY THING!!!

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