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spinal swelling
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spinal swelling

my daughter inlaw was submitted to 2 attempts at lumbar puncture (4 one day and 4 the next day). Since then she has been practically unable to walk and is in excrutiating pain. GP said MRI scan revealed wear and tear of the spine, which we find unacceptable at the age of 38 and without strenuous sports or other activities since childhood and the GP subsequently changed that to "swelling". This pain has been going on now for many weeks. We suspect that damage occured during the unsuccessful lumbar puncture attempts and we feel we need to take this further. What should we do?

Tags: spinal
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Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with your doctor.

Without the ability to examine your daughter in law and obtain a history, and review her MRI, I can not comment specifically on the cause of her symptoms nor on what you have been told about the MRI, but I will try to provide you with some general information.

Lumbar punctures are typically performed at the level of the spine below L3. Because the spinal cord ends above L3, there is no very little risk of spinal cord injury with lumbar puncture. However, sometimes, the nerve that exits the spine on one side may be temporarily injured. However, if someone is suffering from inability to walk after lumbar puncture, this would not be explained by nerve injury (because only the nerve exiting on one side of the spinal cord would be involved). After a lumbar puncture, in the setting of persistent pain and weakness, one would want to rule out infection or a hematoma (bleeding) around the spinal cord or nerve roots, which would be excluded by the MRI. It is possible though I can not definitively say that local bruising in the skin/subcutaneous tissue is a potential cause for your daughter in law's symptoms, and is epxected to resolve within a few days. However, her weakness would not be explained by any local bruising.

Degenerative disk disease, often referred to as wear and tear and more commonly known as arhtirits, is not uncommon on MRI in people in their 3rd decade of life. Whether or not these MRI findings are the cause of your her symptoms again depends on the exact description of her symptoms and her examination.

Swelling is a term used to mean different things, so I do not really have any comments about that. One suggestion is for you to return to your GP and ask that the MRI report from the radiologist who read the MRI be discussed with you in detail so you can better understand the findings.

If her symptoms persist without explanation, referral to a specialist by your GP may be indicated based on her symptoms and examination. Continued follow up with your GP is recommended

Thank you for using the forum I hope you find this information useful good luck
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