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MRI Scan Advice

SallyLouiseSSallyLouise Posts: 2
edited 12/31/2014 - 7:18 AM in Lower Back Pain
Can anyone give me some advice regarding an MRI scan?
I am 34 years old and have suffered with back pain and sciatica on and off for the past 16 years. According to my GP, physiotherapy (in the past) and my current Osteopath they think it'a a reocurring disc problem (slipped or bulging).
When my back goes on me it takes roughly 1-2 weeks to settle down using medication but this time around it seems to be taking a little longer than usual to settle and it has to be one of the most severe episodes I have ever experienced.
I am thinking of arranging for a private MRI scan to be done to have a definite diagnosis of what is going on in my back but I'm concerned by the time the scan date comes through my back will have recovered and nothing will show up on the scan, which will then be a waste of money.
Does anyone know if the slipped disc will show up even if it has gone back into place, will there be any sort of evidence on the scan to show there has been a slipped disc (scarring or something)?
Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
Sally :)


  • Hi Sandi,
    Thank you for this info its very useful.
  • Sally,

    Given your history and pain, I'd highly suggest getting an MRI. The imaging can show tears in your discs, even if they aren't bulging. They can also show fluid or bone swelling and other things that you can't see on regular X-rays. Here in the US, an MRI is expensive and can cost $1,000. Where do you live?
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
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  • I would get the MRI. You do need a definite diagnosis. I'm going to be honest with you, I started with a couple of bulging discs two years ago, and in that time I developed a variety of different problems from my spine trying to heal itself and compensating for the injuries. I am 35, and I knew when my pain started becoming constant that things were getting worse. The pain has clearly been a problem for you for awhile. With a definite diagnosis, the doctors can treat you accordingly. Good luck!

    Retrolisthesis C4 of C5 and C5 of C6
    Spondylolthesis C5/C6
    Disc protrusions with Annular Tears C3/C4, C4/C5, and C5/C6
    Disc Material Compressing Spinal Cord C3/C4
    Severe Forminal Stenosis C5/C6
    Ankylosing Spondylitis 
    Annular Tears L3/L4 and L5/S1
    Enlarged Facet Joints/Facet Anthrosis L3/L4/L5
    PLIF with Rods, Cage, and Pedicle Screws-L4/L5
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