Thursday, August 06, 2009 constant, Community Member, asks

Q: neck mri

Can a mri of the neck reveal ms lesions that do not show on a brain mri? My mri on my brain was clear and all the bloodwork came back okay.  Today I had an mri on my neck, I have the films, but can't make hide nor hair of them. 

I saw the neurologist on Tuesday. He looked at my brain mri and said it was clear so there is "no way I could possibly have ms".  I would really like to believe that, and have tried so hard to do just that, but the little voice in the back of my head keeps reminding me about everything I  experience that include so many of  ms symptoms.  

I know it's not an easy disease to diagnose, but what finally answers the yes or no  part of the diagnosis?

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Answers (2)
Lisa Emrich, Health Guide
8/ 6/09 3:06pm



That's good news that the brain is clear and that your bloodwork is good.  But that doesn't help you in getting close to a definitive diagnosis.  Have you undergone all of the testing described in this overview post?

- Beginner's Guide to MS: Do I have MS? What does it take to get diagnosed with MS?

I'm thinking of other tests such as lumbar puncture and evoked potentials.


But to your question.  Yes, an MRI of the neck can reveal MS lesions separate from brain lesions.  In fact, I continue to not have any brain lesions.  My lesions are concentrated in my neck and middle back.  I've even had optic neuritis several times, but my optic nerves continue to be free of permanent lesions.


When you get the radiologist's report back from the spinal MRI, you should know more.  And keep asking the neurologist - if this isn't MS, what else could it be?

constant, Community Member
8/10/09 9:06am

Thank you for answering my question about the neck mri.  I am not schelduled for the spinal mri (only my neck was done)  or the lumbar puncture, but I am scheduled for the EMG on this Thursday. 

I will keep asking--thank you for your advice and knowledge. 

donnah, Community Member
9/ 2/09 8:04am

Sorry im not answering your question but what is happening to you is happening to me i am waiting for neck mri appointment to come through as my brain scan was normal, then on to have lumbar puncher. my neurologist said the scan DOES NOT rule out ms as she still convinced thats what i have she just looking for the proof. I hope everything goes well 4 u, i know just how scary it all is. my e mail is if you want to chat to someone x

constant, Community Member
9/ 2/09 4:04pm

Thank you for writing to me.  I have had the neck  mri and that was also clear.   I had an EMG done a few weeks ago.  It's a scarey sounding test with needles and shocks, but it's nothing" when you have it done.  The shocks are no worse than hitting your funny bone and the needles were so fine I could barely feel them.The doctor would say it's like a mosquito bite, but to me, it wasn't even that bad.  the good part of the test was that they gave me the results right then, after the tests were completed.  They told me it was "unexplained neuropathies" in my arms and legs...   makes no sense to me.   I'm just so tired right now, I don't want to think about it. The medicine he gave me they use for seizures(?)  It knocked me out almost immediately (you're supposed to take it at bedtime)which was good because I've been having problems sleeping.  BUT then I woke up with the worst headache I have ever had in years.   So that one's  off my list of meds.   I still think it's MS, but the doctors say "no".  I don't even talk about it anymore to people.  So it very was nice to be able to talk to you.    I feel like a hypochondriac when I talk about it to any one else.. I take 2 other RX'S  for the tremors.  That seems to be all the doctors think about, maybe because that's something they can see. whereas they can't see when my eyes go blind or my legs and arms go numb,  But no treatment for the arms or legs going numb or my losing my sight.  It's a mystery, and  maybe it will always be a mystery. 


I hope your lumbar puncture goes okay, and that you get the answers you are looking for.  That's all we want, are ANSWERS and not to live in limbo.


my e-mail is :

Elaine, Community Member
8/ 4/10 7:11pm

I was treated for movements as well with seizure meds.
They knocked me out and made the movements worse.

I had terrible side effects.  And the Neuros also only focused on the movements. On the seizure meds, my movements were all over the place.  So they made a "psychogenic" dx and ignored my other symptoms of pain, fatigue, etc.


I confimred with the pharmacy that the side effects I felt from the seizure meds were real.  Even my hair falling out.

I was on the meds for 6 months.  The Neuros raised the meds 3 x !!!


It's 2 years later now.  No seizure meds for over a year. My movements are consistent since I am not on seizure meds.

I have a new Neuro and a new GP.

And I am waiting (this week! Aug 2010 ) for new MRI results on my brain and spine.


LIMBO is the worst!  I've read some people's dx stories of waiting up to 5 years for a dx.   Don't give up.


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By constant, Community Member— Last Modified: 06/20/14, First Published: 08/06/09