MRI results - I am confuzzled

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Steely, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Matt has been complaining for years that his back hurts. Years. He has been to various doctors who just pat him on the head basically.

    Well recently (and god forbid he knew I was telling the whole world this) he has started having incontinence, which he has never ever had. He was potty trained at 2 1/2 and that was that, he never even had one accident. He is now 20, pretty sure there is a BIG problem.

    So I take him to have an MRI, and it shows narrowing of the spine on both upper and lower spine, as well as minor bulging. The PA and DR told him that the results of his MRI were insignificant, yet I went to medical records and got the report, and I see where it states the above.

    Spinal stenosis, which is narrowing of the spine can cause incontinence, yet the 2 doctors have stated it is nothing. I am SO confused!

    Is it possible that even though the MRI states this, that since I am not a DR I am interpreting it wrong? (Even though it says in black and white - narrowing of the spine and 6 minor bulging discs. )? Or is it that in podunk AZ everyone is out to lunch. Sigh.

    I feel badly for the kid - who can go out in public and have a normal life when dealing with this? It is very embarrassing for him - yet he was bold enough to tell me about it to get help - so he deserves to get the right answers.

    Ugh............any insight?
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Does it actually state he has spinal stenosis? I have that. Actually there is something else that may be causing it and I am going to have to think on it...because my brain is like mush as you know. Does he have issues with pain in his groin? PM Heather...she will know the name because we have talked about it because I have had the same issues and thought for a bit I might have had it because of the pain but it eventually got better. If it is the problem surgery is needed.
  3. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Cauda Equina and it's considered a medical emergency, but he would probably have great pain and be unable to walk, or need a lot of assistance to walk. I would have him see an ortho that specializes in the spine and lumbar region. This is not normal, but I have found that some doctors are quick to dismiss things based solely on age and/or gender.
  4. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

  5. keista

    keista New Member

    They might be 'dismissing' him due to his young age - this is usually an older ppl thing. Get a 2nd opinion, but Chiro or PT might be good first options because of his young age.
  6. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Yea. I know it is usually an older person thing, but on the report it said it was a "congenital defect" - so I am not sure how these doctors could totally dismiss this. I will definitely get a second opinion. I just don't see how 3 people could look at this report and dismiss it - I really am baffled.

    I read the Mayo Clinic thing, and those are exactly the symptoms he has.

    The report states that he does have narrowing of the spine on the upper and lower regions, and 6 mild bulging discs. I do not have the report in front of me, so I cannot remember all the verbiage, Matt has it because he was in so much pain he went to urgent care last night with a copy. I think it does say he has spinal stenosis, or he could have it if not treated because I would not have remembered that phrase.

    Nevermind the kid is 6'4 with a size 15 foot - THAT is a lot of body for the spine not to be working properly!!!
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Steely, I know how hard it is to worry about this stuff because Cory has severe back problems. He was born with a shoulder deformity that had to be surgically repaired at age 4 and in doing that they screwed stuff to his spine to help align the scapula. Now as he has grown he has scoliosis and he looks like a S. He walks like he is 90 to be honest. One shoulder is hiked way up in the air, the other is down, his hips are bad and his knees are about gone. I think I just passed on all my bad genes to him...sigh. Problem is, we cant get anyone at the place we had his original surgery to even say there is anything wrong with him now or even say they can find his surgical notes from back then which makes me think they messed up.
  8. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Was it the Urgent Care doctor that said it wasn't significant? Cause I definitely wouldn't trust that.
  9. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    It was the PA at Urgent Care, the PA at the original doctors., and the Urologist, (who actually did not fully read the reports because he thought the upper and lower MRIs were duplicates) DUH.
    That is why this is so weird and yet frustrating - how can 3 medical professionals say the same thing when in black and white the radiologist MD says something different???
    Especially since he has having symptoms that NO teenage/young adult male would make up.
  10. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Because they don't take the time to actually read them. When I hemorrhaged after angioplasty, the hematoma was right retroperitoneal, which made since because they went through my right leg. I bled again after the second heart cath - they went through the left that time - and the CT read "left extraperitoneal with evidence of prior right retroperitoneal hematoma". Yet my doctor (at the time, she is no longer my doctor) wrote, "No new bleed" on the report and acted like I was drug seeking. Internal bleeding like that hurts like hell. She is also the doctor who told me 6 weeks before my heart attack that I had chronic fatigue syndrome and was "just going to have to learn to live with it".
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    ...dont rely on a PA for any real diagnostic stuff. Most can be good for colds, flu, a sinus infection or even a sprain or mild break but nothing like this.

    If it were me, I would look for an ortho doctor or even a rheumy doctor and take his MRI along...not just the report, to the appointment and get that second opinion. If you have the copy of the MRI on disk, he wont have to undergo another one. Let matt know though that this problem does happen and that there are other people who have it. While he may think I am older than dirt, I am not old enough that this should be happening
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I agree, don't rely on the PA or the urologist. Ea one has his own speciality. You need an orthopedic dr, a neurologist and/or chiropractor. Or all three. IOW, take the MRI report and copies of the CD photos to these people. Let's just say he's on his way to a diagnosis but it will take a little longer.Sigh.
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    He NEEDS an ortho or neurosurgeon to look at this. IF you know an excellent chiro they may be able to give you a referral. I happen to know an incredible one, odd strange little man, most likely strong Aspie not slight aspie like Wiz. But he is INCREDIBLE. My mom had him look at my MRI (he has access to images from our hospital where it was done because now chiros cannot do xrays in their offices) before I had my surgery. This guy almost NEVER recommends surgery but said it was unavoidable if I wanted to use my arms and hands for the rest of my life. Two docs had said I had a "minor" bulging disk until they got reports from him where he actually had notes on MRI images that showed problems they missed.

    So a really GOOD chiro may be able to give you a better idea of what is going on - they don 't just look at the bones, they know how they are supposed to work and what what is wrong. But a bad chiro is about like seeing a PA - worse than useless.

    An ortho surgeon or neurosurgeon who specializes in back problems is what you need. They will understand what janet and flutterby told you about, and know what can/should be done to fix it. NO WAY is incontinence a symptom to ignore. Esp in a 20yo. It is a major sign that he needs help and needs it NOW.

    My mother has spinal stenosis and it is incredibly painful all by itself. She is NOT a wimp and slept a good portion of their trip to Europe last year, something she owuld NEVER do otherwise. In past visits she has walked miles even with small tumors in her toes (benign ones) that caused incredibly pain, and a cyst in her leg tha twas super painful, etc... and they didn't slow her down much, but this did in a major way.

    He NEEDS treatment at a major hospital, one that is GOOD or he may end up crippled for life. Left to long this kidn of thing may not be fixable or may only respond to major intervention where minor help might work earlier. Right now, I doubt minor help will work. Does he have insurance? If he does not but is working, he may have to quit, go on disability or unemployment or other form of assistance to get medicaid so that he can get treatment. Unfixed, he may become permanently disabled.

    I have had disks repaired - NOT fun, but made a huge difference. The difference is incredible. Right now every single tiny movement hurts. I could not even pour a cup of coffee, or lift a mug full. I had to go to using very light paper/plastic cups that were less than half full. Recently my mother said that when she came to visit before I had the first disk fixed she wondered why I hadn't done more to be prepared - like have casseroles in the freezer, the house clean and less cluttered so it would be easier to clean, etc.... She now has a disk in her neck out and apologized hugely because she sees the pain that was involved and knows now why I did not have those things done. I couldn't do them. She didn't understand that it actually was incredibly painful to pick up a paperclip, much less one attached to papers or anything else. This is likely the kind of pain he is in, mroe if it is upper and lower disks bulging because then his legs and entire body is hurting that way.

    He may appear drug seeking, but is actually searching for relief from the pain. Personally, I thought about trying pot to help. I didn't because it is illegal, but I can see how you could be driven to using illegal drugs. Get him to a city and a good doctor before he has to start looking for opiates on the street. Regardless of his age he has a right to appropriate medical care and pain control for this. Your podunk docs are just not able to handle this problem, and no PA is able to, at least not until a GOOD doctor has diagnosis'd and started treatment. They can continue treatment under the doctor's supervision if needed, but don't have the training and skill to establish it.

    Given incontinence, you also need to have them look for MS. This is a big sign of it, at least from what I have been told. But most likely it is in the spine and a good spine doctor is needed.