MRI vs CT scan for cervical disk problem? Prefer no injection

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Jen F, Jul 3, 2003.

  1. Jen F

    Jen F New Member

    Is an injection required for C.T. scan? I am under the impression an injection is only used with MRI.

    My chiro sugg'd it's time I get an MRI - it's week 7 of neck and arm pain due to cervical spine problem and DDD, likely with bulging disk. Chiro said would be nice to see how much disk is bulging -- and I have to wonder if there is herniation...

    xrays show stenosis and marginal bone spurs, so maybe C5-6 nerve is caught on a spur or something, there is definite obvious encroachment of the bone into the i.v. foramina c5-7, esp on Left.

    If I immobilize my neck and arm my pain eventually lessens, but when i use my arm a little and/or my neck or lie flat, I can go into a pain crisis for a few days [like now...]

    Which scan is better and is there a way to avoid a needle, like taking pills?

    This is week 7 and I'm tired of this pain. don't know how you fibromites do it... Then again, if I weren't so darned fatigued I could probably handle the pain a little better.

    Thanks a lot for your time.

    Hate needles,

  2. Applyn59

    Applyn59 New Member

    Hi Jen,
    Guess who?

    I had an MRI of my neck ten years ago. There was no injection. As far as I know, and I may be wrong,
    they usually use contrast if you have had
    prior surgery. I had MRI's of my back without contrast until I had the surgery. Then it was with contrast. I think it was to distinguish between scar tissue. Have you ever had an MRI? With the MRI of the neck, not only are you in that tube, but they put a cage like thing over
    your neck, face area to keep you from moving. NO
    fun at all.

    I think it is safe to assume you will not need any needles. CT scan is easier test and gives
    you exposure to radiation. MRI is more difficult only
    because you have to lie still in that tube with all the noise, but there is no radiation involved.

    Sorry you're having such a bad time of it, Jen.
    Guess what happened to me today? I went to
    the hot tub and I slipped and fell in. I was lucky that
    my neighbor was there and that she has just added some water. I am kind of scared to wake up tomorrow.
    When I first fell in I fell into the deep whole full
    of water but banged my leg on the seats. At first
    my leg was killing me and I cried out in pain.
    But then, it felt okay. My back hurts a little bit - I think
    I twisted it. It 's okay for now but I usually feel these
    things the next day. My neighbor didn't believe that
    I twisted my back but I know that I did! Not sure if I
    did something to my neck either. I was a basket
    case and am still shakey over the whole thing. She
    said she would call her insurance company if I
    end up needing medical care.We were both afraid
    I got hurt badly. I need some tranquilizers about now!
    Needless to say, the added water that she put
    in all splashed out with my fall!

    You think stepping in doo doo three times is bad?
    Hope your day is better.
  3. pam_d

    pam_d New Member

    I have bulging cervical disk problems (C5-6 & 6-7), and have had several cervical MRIs----never had a needle with any, just the claustrophobic tube & jackhammer noise.

    However, I DID have epidural injections in the cervical disks last summer (two of them, spaced two weeks apart) to reduce the inflammation. Knock on wood (or I guess bone, in this case), they have really helped. Occasionally I have a slightly painful day, but very tolerable; before the injections, I literally had to hold the back of my head in place with one hand, & brush my teeth with the other---that's how painful any slight movement of my head/shoulders was, plus I had pain & burning down one arm. I'd say it's at least 95% better.

    I know you said you are needle-phobic; sometimes they use oral prednisone as a first step. And the epidural shots don't help everyone, but they were very helpful in my case.

    Good luck & hope you get some kind of relief!

  4. Applyn59

    Applyn59 New Member

  5. babyblues68

    babyblues68 New Member

    I just had a MRI and CT last week. There were no injections.

    Like I said to another on this board....Have you had an MRI before? I had one last week. If your claustrophobic when they start to put you in...keep your eyes closed. Don't freak out that I said this...just want you to be aware...I wasn't. It was pretty wierd for me since I get panic attacks. I'm proud to say I made it thru with out an attack, by keeping my eyes closed and just think about my kids. I did take a xanax before going in too.

    [This Message was Edited on 07/03/2003]
  6. Jen F

    Jen F New Member

    Thanks for the responses, I appreciate the info.

    No, never had mri before.

    I have sensitive ears, is the jackhammering noise significant? cause then I would probably try to remember ear plugs.

    do any of you know which would be better for my C5-7 disk problem - C.T. or mri?

    thanks again.


    p.s. I may have to try sleeping sitting more upright as lying flat induces symptoms. Anyone tried those large foam triangle wedges to keep upper body slightly upright? They cost $40 or $50 and look like cheap foam, I wonder if it's worth it, if they are comfortable, if foam is hot in SUMMER, etc.


    [This Message was Edited on 07/04/2003]
  7. franners

    franners New Member

    I have had open and closed MRI with contrast (no needle). I do suggest ear plugs if noise bothers you..
    It is not that bad to have, just laying there for approx 30 minutes for the neck or head..
    Happy trails....
  8. Jen F

    Jen F New Member

    very useful

    thx everyone else too

    might be a long wait for mri, but if not, i might have a very bad problem with the 30 min's of lying flat. I cannot lie flat without a lot of pain and numbness, can't be upside down either I found at yesterday while trying an inversion table.

    can these scans be done while sitting up? or while I lie on my side and use a cervical pillow [and maybe ice pack, and pain killers of course?] that's the only way I can lie flat for more than 2 minutes. or i ould lie face down, maybe with my head down slightly like on a chiro table with an adjustable head piece? can I lie like that for any scans?

    anyone know?

    thanks again for the info.

    in pain,

  9. babyblues68

    babyblues68 New Member

    I doubt they can be done sitting up. I know the one inclosed you couldn't...not enough room to even roll over. I did take lortab with my xanax. It took 20 or 30 min. They had ear plugs for me. It must have been VERY loud, because I could still here the machine. But w/the ear plugs the sound didn't bother me. You can also comunicate with the tech. They'll talk to you can you can talk back. You do have to be very still. The MRI machine I was in had a nice padded neck support area. My CT I had I don't see how you could sit up in either.

    Talk with your doctor about the seditive.

    I did ask the tech...what the heck they do with kids. My daughter would have freaked out being in that tiny of a space. She said alot of kids do better than adults...the ones who don't they do sedate.

    Good luck,