MRI scan

Hi - would a lumber MRI scan identify an MS attack? 2 years ago I suffered a “neurological episode” it was in the first place suspected of being a stroke and treated as such. The brain MRI didn’t show evidence of a stroke (I had suffered a stroke 12 years earlier) I was eventually referred to a neurologist as I had little control of my legs and was unable to drive. In addition I had pins and needles in both hands for some time and a sharp pain down my right leg from top to bottom and suffered constipation (which I still do to date) He said it was "poly neuropathy " but didn’t think it was MS. He referred me for electrical connectivity tests which showed severe damage,but no follow up appointment with him just my GP.I don’t want to trouble my GP with this again and I am considering having a lumber MRI done privately. Am I wasting my money? Or could it identify the problem ps the neurologist appeared my concerned concerned with drop-foot


Hi Chris

It was only last week my neurologist conveyed that my brain MRI was showing signs of MS and am now awaiting a lumber puncture . In the end (due to the wait and my appointment from one hospital to another getting lost several times) I went private . Like you I had pins and needles in my arms and also my legs and had episodes whereby I lost control of my legs . If they ECT showed severe damage I personally would contact my GP again and ask for a referral again to a neurologist with persistent symptoms which are clearly concerning you . This wouldnt be a trouble for the GP and would hopefully put your mind at rest or give you some answers.

Sorry I cant help more but am sure there are plenty of people on here who are better placed to advise .

Wishing you luck

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Hello Chris

I don’t think it’s quite as straightforward as just getting a lumbar spine MRI. To start with, you’d have to be referred to an MRI unit to have a test, and then you’d need someone to interpret the scan in conjunction with your symptoms, physical examination and history.

All of this could be done through a referral from a private neurologist, but the doctor is likely to want to get an MRI of the entire spine as well as the lumbar (the spine is divided into the cervical, the thoracic and the lumbar vertebrae), possibly the brain again as well. A doctor wouldn’t be able to order a lumbar MRI and then diagnose MS from that.

As Towjole said, getting a re-referral from your GP shouldn’t be too difficult, after all, you have symptoms for which you don’t seem to have a clear diagnosis. It’s possible of course to have ‘peripheral neuropathy’, which can cause symptoms similar in nature to some MS symptoms, but this would be distinct from the central nervous system.

If in addition / as part of all this, you have drop-foot, you could get a referral to the hospital Orthotics department, where you could be given an orthosis, ie a splint to help you pick up your toes. Alternatively, a referral to physiotherapy where they could look at your drop-foot and gait and thereafter advise what you can do to help this.

Best of luck.


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