I recently got an MRI of my upper and lower spine because I had the following symptoms:
First symtom - numbness in right big toe, and electric current running down center of right leg to the foot causing the leg to buckle. This would happen at night when I would turn over, and in the morning when I was doing things like brushing my teeth - when I would bend my neck down.
This was about 1.5 years ago. Then symptoms continued where I would get the electric current, plus tingling in my foot, and times my right leg wouldn't support me.
Then, I began to experience tingling in my right hand fingers. I also would get numbness in my mouth above my teeth on the right side.
After getting the MRI, and while waiting for the results, one night I experienced numbness on the right side of my face. I went to emergency and had a CAT scan - nothing. Perhaps I was just very anxious about the results and having to wait so long (4 months) to get the tests and results (one of the drawbacks of an HMO) Now I also get lightneaded and just feel strange, not myself, and my head sometimes feels like it is filled with cotton.
I got the MRI because I thought I had a pinched nerve - but the MRI did not show any nerve impingment, or disk problems. It showed a small while spot at C2 on the spinal cord. The doctor said the spot could be either due to the film (some particular term) or inflamation. Now he has odered an MRI of my head - to rule out MS or other things. He does not seem to be able to explain my symptoms which come and go. I have no pain, just numbness, tingling, weakness in the right leg.
Can you please shed some light on my situation, including info on a white spot on the spinal cord. How does one get this spot? How can I heal myself of this spot without loading my system up with steriods? Could memopause be contributing to my situation? I am 52 yers old and just started menopause.
Thank you for your help.
Dear Ms Mulloy,
Thank you for your interesting question.
WHat you described on your posting sounds like Lhermitte's sign which is electrical feeling down the spine induced by bending down of your neck.
Though the spot could be an artifact (not a real finding, rather it is some alteration of signal due to machine and film interaction) it is more likely that the spot on C2 is real and that is what may be responsible for some of your symptoms. The generic term is myelitis (inflammation of the spinal cord) which has a long list of causes, in which MS is one of them. Other causes include infection. Your doctor is correct in ordering a brain MRI.
One thing though, these scan brain and spine MRI should be done with contrast (an intravenous line is used to deliver a contrast fluid, that is very helpful in distinguishing plaques, and to see if these plaques are active, meaning currently flaring up and responsible for your sympttoms).
If it is not too late, you might want to check with your doctor and if you have not been evaluated by a neurologist, you should ask for a consultation, preferrably one who is familiar with MS.
MRI is the best test, the most sensitive test for MS.
Many neurologist treat myelitis with large dose of steroids, it is true,
but there are also other new medications that are available now in the market to reduce the number of relapses one may have in the relapsing remitting type of MS (not steroid).
Good luck and I hope the information above is helpful. Please do not hesitate to post a follow up question or comment.
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