MRI... Head only....

Hi all So I was originally referred to neuro with memory loss and cognitive issues but when I was waiting for my appt it dawned on me that a lot of the more physical symptoms I’ve experienced for years and just saw as disparate annoyances are actually all neurological (poor balance, pins and needles, weird sensations in skin like creeping crawling or sudden feelings of wetness, numb fingertips and numb patches on thighs, twitchy muscles, sudden sensations that make me jolt my leg, retaining urine to a certain extent and faecal incontinence etc, also get bands of tight pain around my feet and very tight calves to the point it is hard to walk down stairs, and general joint pains), obv it could be a number of things or it could be nothing but stress but obviously I’d wanted to rule MS out but despite telling the neuro all these symptoms and having a positive romberg balance test the mri appt has come through and it seems they are only doing head. What is the chances that if (big if I know, I actually don’t think it’s likely to be MS but want to feel it has been properly ruled out rather than potentially missed), but if it were MS they would miss it by not doing a spine mri? I don’t feel very at ease! Her neurological examination seemed cursory at best, she must only have touched my legs for literally a quarter of a second when she was testing for weakness and I hadn’t even started pushing back against her as requested so I didn’t entirely trust her!) but I want to feel confident in whatever diagnosis or ruling out she gives me whilst I ‘have the ear’ of a neurologist iykwim (I know it isn’t easy to get these appts and I don’t want to go away and continue suffering the same symptoms and have to push to be re referred since I know that is so long winded). I just feel like she has been distracted by the thought of dementia or something, which it totally isn’t imo. So in short I don’t feel like I’m going to confidently trust the results if they say ‘all clear’ but am I wrong to be so wary of the results, are they likely to actually be fairly reliable for ruling out diagnosis of any lesions in spite of not including spine? Thanks! Sorry that was rambly but hopefully you get the idea!


It is quite usual for an initial MRI to be of the brain only.

If you find that this scan is clear of demyelinating lesions suggestive of MS, but still have symptoms, you’ll need to talk to the neurologist about further testing. This could take the form of a further spinal MRI, another physical examination, nerve conduction studies and many other tests.

In the meantime, why not try to write a timeline of what has happened to to you and when. So think back as far as you can, try to remember the symptoms that you are now tying together, the rough dates when they began and how long each symptom lasted. Also, whether they completely or partially dissipated or stayed with you.

This will come in handy when you next see the neurologist plus, it’s helpful for you to really consider what’s changed and what you are concerned about.

I wouldn’t expect that if you have a clear MRI as far as MS is concerned, you’d be immediately discharged by the neurologist.


I’m not diagnosed but I was referred for a spine mri first and then to a spinal consultant who referred me to neurology where the neurologist asked for a brain mri to be done. So I wasn’t sent for a full mri. Think its a process of elimination or clues to what they need to look at next? (I’m new to all this so could be wrong)

Thanks both, that’s really helpful and has set my mind at rest that she isn’t just being…unthorough…which I know isn’t a word but I can’t think of a better one!