fMRI for Confirmation of Pain ?

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Ransomed
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 5/17/2011 10:37 PM (GMT -6)   
My husband has been in severe pain for a long time; and it is getting worse. But none of the doctors seem to believe him. I've read that fMRI can be used to find areas of pain by scanning the brain. Is this ever used to prove whether or not a patient is "faking it" or to confirm the existence of undiagnosed causes of chronic pain?

Chutz
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9090
   Posted 5/17/2011 11:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Ransomed~

It's very nice to meet you. I'm sorry your husband is suffering so much. I'm not sure on the fMRI but they are wonderful for many things related to function. I did some reading and it sounds like this is still in it's infancy, more so than I realized.

Here's a bit of what I read for those who are interested: (paraphrased) The wonderful thing about it is it reveals function and not just a static picture. For now it sounds like most of it's uses are for imaging the brain during activity to locate areas that are active. It shows what areas are active when you think of someone you love, when you feel sad or someone pinches you. These capabilities have led to new knowledge in serious diseases and new forms of treatment. But it still has many limitation and bugs to get worked out before it goes 'out of the clinic'. One area that is showing promise is in lie detection. It's a spendy way of doing things but seems to be effective is showing if someone is being truthful or not. But the chances of it being admitted into a legal case are slim to none as it stands now.

If I may ask you a question....what type of pain does your husband have? Is it generalized muscle pain, specifically in a joint or one region? The reason I asked is fibromyalgia came to mind. That is where the body has generalized muscle pain that can be aggravated by temperature, stress of any kind and even weather. Not too much is know about it's causes but it's very real and very painful. I know from personal experience. It's just a thought. You might jump over to our Fibromyalgia forum and do some reading there. It would give you a start anyway. If you think it's possibly fibro then a good PCP or rheumatologist who treats fibro would be able to diagnose it. Often people who have it suffer for 5-10 years before someone finally recognizes what it is since there are no blood test, etc for it.

I hope something here gives you hope. Please keep posting and let us know how we can help you and hubby.

Warm hugs,
Chutz wink
Moderator on the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain forums
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Daily Donnybrook: Fibromyalgia, Insulin Dependent Diabetes. Ulcerative Colitis, Rare form of Dermatitis, Collapsed Disk, Osteoarthritis (especially in right hand and neck) and a couple of other adjunct agitations.
~~~~~
Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best.

Ransomed
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 5/18/2011 12:13 AM (GMT -6)   
My husband's pain is more severe in certain areas including a spot in the middle of his back. He also has quite a bit of neck pain.

Recently, he has started having episodes where he experiences numbness in his hands, feet, and lips; weakness all over; extreme muscle tension; a "heavy headed" feeling; dizziness; lightheadedness; and, in severe cases, slurred speech, complete gibberish, limp arms and legs, and blurred vision. And yet, in the past week, during these episodes, he has been accused by two doctors and a nurse of either "faking it" or being on drugs. *sigh*

Oh yeah, today, when he was having a "minor" episode in front of his primary physician he said that all of his muscles felt like they were on fire. And, at one point, his arms, legs, and neck started jerking noticeably and uncontrollably.

lackingenergy
New Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 5/18/2011 12:47 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi,
I am not sure I thought I posted my response already and since I am new to this, I got this screen. So have no idea if both will show up or not and if the other does, I am sorry. :)

What I had said in the other post- is what about trying the biofeedback? I believe and correct me if I am wrong (since I haven't gotten to try this yet but want to) but it will show the areas in your body that will show any kind of strain while sitting and or in different positions. This may help at least prove to a Dr that its there!

Your husband sounds like alot of what I have been going thru myself! Be sure to tell him to keep searching for that Dr! Because I am now 39. I started out in 2005 with major migraines, neck issues, etc.... I was able to still work. I was always a worker!! Loved it! But by May of 06 my Dr took me out of work because I wasn't able to reduce my hours. And I was getting worse. She sent me to a Pain Management clinic, and thats where alot of my trouble began......

I ended up with high blood pressure- which I would ask about, got no response except its my pain level. Not to worry about it. I ended up having to get spinal injections to try and relieve the pain. Well those weren't working either. My foot was hurting extremely bad- and I would bring it up to them, and did for a few months, and same with my shoulder- again they didn't care. Told me it was part of it. And that I was probably having withdrawl to a med they were still giving me!!!! that was my foot- my shoulder I got told that if they wanted my opinion on what was wrong with me- they would have asked me!!! Ya!!!! Nice huh???

So I went back to my reg Dr, and she had me do MRI on my shoulder. And she took xrays of my foot. Long and short of it- My foot ended up with a break, my shoulder has a tear in the rotator cuff! Not only that, but now becuz of the care I was getting, I have RSDS in my foot. I had a heart attack at 37 yrs old. (cholesterol levels were perfect, they said it was stress!!!) And the other thing was at the end my Dr at the pain clinic would withhold any pain meds unless I let them give me spinal injections!!!! Well since then I have been a mess!!! And I quit going there. And now I am at a much better place!! Its worth it to keep looking. Dont do what I did. Becuz I am 39 and haven't been able to start my family due to all of this junk!

Dont give up!!! Keep looking!

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16409
   Posted 5/18/2011 4:46 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Ransomed and welcome to Healing Well's chronic pain forum. I am at a loss as to why your husband is having such rotten luck with all of these drs that he has seen, I am sure it just adds to more stress that either of you don't need. There is nothing worse than a dr not believing you when you tell him something.

I have no answer to your question about the MRI and brain, I have not heard anything like what you were talking about so I am no help there. As far as an MRI goes I know they are used in dxing a patient when looking for a disc problem or breaks and that sort of thing.

Since your husband has had been seen by some nasty tempered drs, my first thought would be for him to go to a teaching hospital, one that is the closest to your home. With the teaching hospitals they are on the cutting edge of many different medical problems and they do many things that your typical drs do not and best of all they don't throw the big egos around. They are not in competition with each other like you will see in private practice. If you will look at the CP101 here at the forum you will find a list of teaching hospitals and I would look there to see which one is the closest to you.

Good luck and please keep us posted on what you find out for your husband.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Ransomed
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 5/18/2011 8:51 AM (GMT -6)   
[quote]best of all they don't throw the big egos around

Wow. :)

Ransomed
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 5/18/2011 9:00 AM (GMT -6)   
 This same doctor has told us that he has tested for MS (presumably via a blood test, I think.) and that it came back negative. But I'm reading on the Mayo site that MS is a disease diagnosed by elimination, kind of like fibro is. Is this true?
 
 
 
    (post edited for improper use of language) Please read the forum rules. Thanks! SE
3. No use of explicit, obscene or vulgar language or images and/or messages, including racist remarks. 

Post Edited By Moderator (Screaming Eagle) : 5/18/2011 8:36:09 AM (GMT-6)


fish29
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 70
   Posted 5/18/2011 2:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, MS is tested through a brain MRI.

I believe there is some research out there regarding pain and the brain. They are now testing some things on Fibro patients, where they experience pain differently than normal people. But I don't have any specific studies.

I know this may sound stupid, but part of this sounds like Myofascial pain. It's worth looking into trigger points and trying to "work" them at home. I was tested for MS a few months ago. Same thing- blurred vision, trouble hearing certain tones, numbness etc. It ended up being trigger points. If he has had all the testing this is free and available online. You work the spots (there are free manuals online) and see if things improve or not. Just remember the spots are sometimes in different places vs. where the actual pain is. You may have numbness in your hand and fingers but the spot causing it could be the upper arm.

I hope you look into it, it really helped me.
Tethered Cord Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndrome (newly diagnosed)
Morphine (IR & ER), Baclofen, Neurontin, Savella, Voltaren Gel

fish29
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 70
   Posted 5/18/2011 2:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Sorry- MRI and if you see lesions they will do a spinal tap for MS. They do blood work to eliminate B12 issues and Lyme disease.
Tethered Cord Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndrome (newly diagnosed)
Morphine (IR & ER), Baclofen, Neurontin, Savella, Voltaren Gel

Ransomed
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 5/18/2011 3:51 PM (GMT -6)   
We have looked into trigger point treatments (massage), and it looked promising. But I tried it while he was having the speech problems, and it caused his neck to jerk violently and looked like things got worse. I am wondering - did I cause him to have to go to the ER that day? So, we are both hesitant to try trigger massage again.

fish29
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 70
   Posted 5/18/2011 3:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Oh wow. I'm sorry I wish I had an answer for you. Where did you press to have his neck jerk like that?

If you think this is somehow MS related then he should be scheduled for MRI's. A blood test will NOT confirm MS. If he is having speech problems etc have they done any brain scans? In my opinion that is the least they could do, even if it's to rule out a stroke etc.

MS is very complex to diagnose, but there are certain things they look for- http://www.mult-sclerosis.org/diagnosingms.html

sunflower7
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 75
   Posted 5/18/2011 4:07 PM (GMT -6)   
I saw an interesting program last week, can't remember the name of the program, something like Medical Mystery Diagnosis. Not sure.



Have you checked out Dystonia? May be worth a look.

Bonnie

Ransomed
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 5/18/2011 4:09 PM (GMT -6)   
He has had a few CT scans of his brain but nothing else related to the brain.

I have heard of dystonia but don't know what it is. I will look into it. Thanks!

Ransomed
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 5/18/2011 4:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Oh yeah, I think it was somewhere near where the neck muscle and shoulder muscle meet that caused his head to jerk.

Snowbunny21
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 3557
   Posted 5/18/2011 4:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Ransomed...welcome to the boards..I'm sorry to hear about your husband's trouble..

I'm not sure if I read it correctly so I apologize....But has he gotten an MRI done of his head and/or cervical spine yet? And yes..they can check for MS as well if they are concerned about this..

I would certainly recommend he see a Board Certified Neurosurgeon or Neurologist...don't let the term 'surgeon' scare you as yes..they do this..but they also are best at diagnosing and using all sorts of treatments for issues...They can order the MRI...blood tests...do EMG or other nerve conduction studies...
 
I have vaguely heard about an MRI for 'pain'...but it's not used in the US as far as I know..
 
Also...about disc issues...most people over 40...if you did a regular MRI on their spine...you would see over half having some sort of disc movement or herniation...some people have absolutely no pain and no symptoms and these go away on their own and push back in...And others...can have excruciating pain with a minimal protrusion...So the MRI is used more for diagnostics and then using speaking with a patient about their other symptoms and putting it all together like a puzzle to give the best diagnosis and treatment plan.

A Primary Physician is a good start....but it sounds like he needs a specialist...

I totally understand how frustrating it can be to find out a diagnosis...sometimes unfortunately it can take some time...

I would say to be very careful on doing any type of massage on his neck until you rule out any type of disc herniations...trigger point massage is usually done by a professional...

I hope that you can get an appt. with a specialist soon to help alleviate the fear of the unknown..

Post Edited (Snowbunny21) : 5/18/2011 3:22:44 PM (GMT-6)

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