Background: I am a 40 y/o female and have been having neck and shoulder pain with extreme muscle tightness (not responding to massage and heat therapy), occasional spasms, and extreme fatigue since May of 2007. I also had numbness of the hands and arm, more on the right than the left, but this too has cleared up since I stopped taking Topomax for migraines. At times the pain has been so severe it brought me to tears. I have not been able to excercise regularly or perform all activities that I normally do. It has been a little better the last month and a half.
I have had multiple test that were all normal including the following: nerve conduction studies, evoked potential, MRI of the brain, and blood work. With regards to the blood work, I was told that I had elevated carbon dioxide levels, but wasn't told why or how to deal with this. I was having tremors in my right hand and was diagnosed with essential tremor, but I have chosen not to take medicine to stop this problem since I often have bad side effects from medicines. I have been taking Skelaxin, up to 3x a day as needed for tightness with minor relief.
I had to pay out of pocket for some of the tests and just got an okay to get the insurance to cover an MRI of the cervical spine. I recently got a copy of a preliminary report for this MRI with the following findings:
"There is abnormal bone marrow signal noted to suggest fracture or bone disruption. Disc spaces are unremarkable throughout. Craniovertebral junction is intact. Spinal cord has a normal signal intesity. No obvious myelomalacia or spinal cord contusion noted. No spinal cord edema is seen. No cerebellar tonsillar herniation is noted."
I cannot get into see the doctor (a nuerologist) who ordered the MRI until mid-January at the earliest and cannot even book anything for then because the office hasn't openned his schedule yet.
Question(s): What can an abnormal bone marrow signal mean? Does it have to be from a fracture or could it be something else? What other test might need to be done? Would it be best to wait and follow up with the neurologist or schedule something with an orthopedist?
Any response or help would be greatly appreciated.
It seems you have improved a bit and this is a good sign.
1. An abnormal marrow signal can suggest fracture of the bone
2. It need not be a complete fracture, can be a hairline fracture
3. Try to schedule an appointment with the orthopedician till then
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