Is a brain scan the only diagnosis?

Hi all
I am new here. I’ve recently had an MRI for MS - I have all the symptoms but my brain scan came back clear.
Is this the only way to rule out MS? Should I push for an MRI of my spine or leave it at that?
Thank you so much xx

Was the scan ordered by a Neurologist? There is a correlation between our symptoms and where the damage will be found. Hopefully if your symptoms could be associated with spinal lesions they would have ordered a scan including the spine.
MS can seem to fit a set of symptoms, but there are often many other possibilities. Having a diagnosis is great, but having the wrong diagnosis is not!
Try and keep an open mind as to what the problem is. Have a look at the MS Trust and MS Society websites for good quality information. Searches on Google are unlikely to help and probably confuse you.
Good luck and I hope you get to the bottom of it soon, but it is likely to take quite some time.

Via my GP, I actually haven’t seen a neurologist. Should I ask to be referred to one and can I if my scan was clear? (Brain scan that is).
All my pain is based around my back, but I get all the other symptoms related to MS too and have done for a while now.
Thank you for your reply xx

You need to go back to the GP and see what they think. Clear brain scan probably suggests not MS, but nothing is ever simple. Only a Neurologist can make a diagnosis of MS but it could be something else.
No one has all the symptoms of MS, we each have our own set and different trajectories.

I didn’t mean all the symptoms, I have done a lot of research as I have other chronic conditions which are often linked with MS too, so I definitely know and understand no one has all symptoms.
I just really wanted to know if an MRI of the brain is the only way of diagnosing MS, I obviously know about lumbar punctures etc too but do they come after a brain scan if that spots something?
Thank you x

Pre-MRI, a lumbar puncture (aka spinal tap) was used to help diagnose MS. Still used today for corroboration.

With MRI, no lesions would make a MS diagnosis difficult but there are types of MS where no difference is evident from one MRI to the next, even though symptoms are worsening. See “Smouldering MS”.

Hi, sorry to hear you’re in this situation.
I’ve recently been diagnosed after my thigh went numb over two years ago.
I actually have no lesions on my brain but quite a few on my spine. I think this made diagnosis take longer but after optic neuritis, a positive lumbar puncture and changes on the MRI for a second time we got there in the end.
I do think however that I have had this for much longer but the GP always just put it down to being tired from having young children and pains from a pre-existing lower back problem. I started to think I had gone crazy and was imagining it all.

There is lots of other things that can cause similar symptoms to MS so hopefully it’s not but I would push to have a spinal MRI just to put your mind at rest if nothing else :slight_smile: