First and foremost, thank you in advance for reading and providing any feedback you may have. I will try to summarize as best as I can. Please do not respond for me to discuss with a doctor. I know that. I am trying to get feedback on similar experiences, situations, etc.
3 years ago, I had prolonged neck and back pain. I went to a local orthopedic office urgent care office and they suspected some sort of disc herniation or impingement. They provided me with a prednisone taper pack, some pain medicine and scheduled a Cervical MRI. Week or so goes by, have the MRI and a follow up with the spine surgeon. The MRI didn’t show any sort of disc herniation, but did show quite a bit of other stuff.
MRI Summarized for brevity: Impression- (34 y/o W,M in open upright MRI) Mild to moderate multilevel degenerative disc disease resulting in mild bilateral neural foraminal stenosis, most prominent at C6-7 Level. Multi-level, but individually summarized to include osteophyte complexes resulting in moderate narrowing at C5-C6 and stenosis. Met with the surgeon, put on a higher strength prednisone pack and offered a injection in the neck, which I declined as the higher Mg pack worked and I went 3 years with no issues.
Fast forward three years, I am setting on the couch and sneeze. Immediate shoulder, neck and upper back pain followed by numbness running from my neck down through my shoulders and into my arm lasting about 30 seconds. I say to myself “that was weird” but think nothing of it. Two days later I wake up with neck pain and can barely turn my head to the left. I initially liken it to sleeping on it wrong, until days later it is still there and is now into my shoulder. Foot note- 3 years later I have moved and am a bit further away from initial doc, so I go to another Orthopedic clinic closer to my work. I leave early one day and go to their urgent care clinic (all PAs no Physician). I bring paperwork from 3 years ago and explain situation. Again, they suspect cervical, put me on taper pack, pain meds, and a follow up appointment with their “spine doc”.
At this point my symptoms are progressively getting worse and not even c lose to comparable to 3 years ago. Much worse than three years ago. I am now experiencing significant radiculopathy down into the neck, shoulders, tricep, sides of forearms, palm of hands, and middle/ring finger. Waves of searing pain (both arms/hands but left worse). I have also been getting left ear pain and migraines every day. I also can turn just the right way, very hard to re-create, but will have a shock run down my spine like I was electrocuted. At this point I am miserable and I am sure the MRI will paint the picture. I go and have an MRI (lying down this time). Now I am traveling, several days away from my appointment and call the Radiologist office to send me the images and impression. They do and the impression this time is essentially, nothing wrong and everything is fine. At this point, I am shocked. I am in the middle of an airport terminal and wanted to break down and cry.
Here is where I start to question the new “spine doc” office. I go to their website and no patient portal? I then find a general email address where I want to send a heads up to the doctor about all of the above and want him to be prepared to discuss the difference between MRI one and two and tell me why such a huge difference. I immediately get an outlook kick back that the email address is not valid. (completely different than the long standing orthopedic clinic previous, but more to come on that). So stranded in an airport, I am stuck until next week.
I show up to the appointment, never meeting this doctor before and previously unable to get in touch with him before. He walks in completely young and smug, smile on his face, condescending attitude and says your MRI is fine (all of late 20’s and just hired on at the clinic two months before come to find out but I don’t let that persuade me). I try to tell him that I tried getting in touch to share the previous MRI to which he responds, “ Who knows you read that, could have been anybody” (a well known surgeon and Radiologist read it by the way). Well, I have the findings in hand and give it to him. He immediately opens up the new images and say’s “oh, well on second look there is some stenosis at C4/C5, it’s mild to moderate”. Then he says we’ll get you in for an injection and before I knew what to say he stood up and left the room. The nurse walked in and said someone would call me to schedule the injection. I was stunned. I left and got a call two days later from the Spine Clinic who they contract to do the shots. The other doctor 3 years ago by the way does everything in house with minimal wait. This new clinic advises the earliest they can get me in is two weeks later! Doogie Houser made it seem like it would be next day. I schedule anyway. I then send a prescription refill request in to the doctor considering this was not going to be quick as they eluded to. They do have this automated approach believe it or not. I waited about 36 hours and get a call. Foot note- It has now been 5-6 weeks since my first visit. The nurse says we got your refill request and we are unfortunately in the office 50 miles away from you today as they rotate. She says we called in the Flexeril, but the doctor “doesn’t do narcotics, but he will write for Tramadol if you are willing to drive an hour away”. At this point, my blood pressure is through the roof and I simply laughed and said no thanks. I asked her to send all of my records to my old doctor, I am now willing to travel as I am done with these people. I work high level in a Pharma company and to be told, “he doesn’t do narcotics” as if I am making this up like some druggie is beyond me. I am furious.
It has now been days, they have yet to transfer my files, but I will be on them next week as my symptoms are life and mood changing at this point. I sent the previous doctor a note in the patient portal to give him a heads up, but won’t schedule until they do so in order for them to have the full picture.
I am at my wits end folks! Has anyone had a false or poor Cervical MRI results? Thoughts? Suggestions?