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sitting/ standing MRI
10 Replies
littleloey - December 9

Now that I have found a facility, out of state, but within a decent traveling distance, I can not get any of my Drs. here to order a positional MRI for me. They say it is out of their realm of knowledge and they know nothing about them. I am so discouraged right now. I thought finally there was hope of finding out what is really going on in my back. And maybe there would be something that could be done to get me back on my feet again and able to live a more normal life. I was told that eventually the technology here would catch up ,maybe. That really doesn't do me a whole lot of good now. Does any one have any ideas how to remedy this ? I'm open to any suggestions.


Fantod - December 10

That is ridiculous. The staff radialogist will evaluate the findings and send the film (usually on CD) with you and a report to your doctor.

Waiting until technology catches up in your area is not an appropriate response either. The first tenant of the Hippocratic Oath is to do no harm. Preventing you from getting this test that may help diagnosis your issue and get you more functional is a violation. You need to tell them that and insist. If they continue to refuse, file formal written complaints with your insurance company and the state.

Unfortunately, we often have to be our own best advocates to get the care that we need. Start making noise until someone listens....
Good luck.


January - December 11

I agree. I asked for a referral for a sitting MRI, and got one immediately. I would complain loudly to insurance and to the state medical licensing board - you should not be paying a doctor's bill if the doctor refuses to diagnose you properly! (What are you paying them FOR? Dispute the bill with insurance.) Their own ignorance (and laziness to learn) about newer MRI technology is a ridiculous excuse!

Hopefully you are seeing a back specialist of some kind. If not, give that a try. Another idea - perhaps the facility with the MRI can give you the name of a doctor in your area who is a little more enlightened. Good luck with it. It's OK to demand that you get what you are paying for.


littleloey - December 13

Thanks for your response. Don't worry, I'm not giving up. I'm known to be pretty stubborn. LOL I have an appointment with my Dr. tomorrow and I'm prepared with some research I've done on positional MRI's and a list of the many states where it is in use. He's a really good and caring person and I know he will hear me out and probably do a little research of his own. That's all I ask.
My insurance company has already said they will pay for it even though it is out of state. As for my Orhopaedic Dr. I am looking for another one. The one I have refuses even to do another x-ray to compare to a year ago and see if changes show either in my scoliosis or the bulging disc. I know there are changes as my pain is increasing and becoming more frequent. He doesn't really care unless he knows there is a big surgery to do. They say he is the best surgeon around here but I need one who will listen to me. So that is another thing I will be discussing with my Dr.
I have also made an appointment on my own to see a spine specialist at the University of Iowa Hospitals. The problem with that is the earliest appointment is the middle of March. That's a long time when you are in pain.
I'll update when I get any news.


January - December 13

Having back issues requires a lot of thought and research. Glad you are a toughie and will fight for yourself! I know what you mean about the doctors who just want to do surgery. Their eyes glaze over if you want conservative treatment. I've been told to do shots and surgery. But I talked to other people and read up on the risks of surgery…like infection or further damage. I am putting it off for as long as I possibly can. If you get an infection in your spinal canal, good luck.

I personally know two people who had "routine" surgery and woke up paralyzed. I've spoken to several women who are still walking, but only with canes, TENS units and meds - they told me the back surgery made them much worse. I have pain every day, but it's bearable, and I'm better off than those people. Hopefully, back surgery techniques will improve! Certainly, the diagnostic capability of the sitting MRI was lightyears ahead of anything I'd had before! I hope your doctor pays attention -- I had to explain it to my doctor -- I told him it scans you while you are upright, so it shows how the spine lines up with normal posture and weightbearing - clarifying problem areas that don't show up if you are lying down. He "got it" right away.

On the positive side, I just saw an ad in the AARP newsletter for the Laser Spine Institute. Looks like they might have some new techniques and approaches. The phone number is 1-866-848-5892, and the website is with the w's, LaserSpineInstitute (dot) com. They claim over 93% patient satisfaction, small incisions, short recovery times, etc. That's all I know, but maybe worth checking out if you are considering surgery. Best of luck to you! It is a real drag to have back pain every day!


littleloey - December 16

Hi friends,
I did meet with my Dr. yesterday. He spent 1 1/2 hrs with me so we discussed things pretty thoroughly. He understands how my quality of life has gotten so low and he agrees that we need to do another MRI. Although he does not want to order the positional MRI because he is just a family Dr and he feels like a specialist should make that decision. He will order a standard one however to see if there are changes in the things that we know are there, ie: spondylosis, bulging disc and scoliosis. Then of course we have good old FM on top of those LOL. He has had back surgery himself for 2 ruptured disc's. He does not recommend back surgery only as a last resort. He feels that after seeing this go on for most of 2 years that we may have come time to turn to a Dr. who does long term pain management, not just injections, to develop a plan that will help me regain more quality of life (and fun, he said) in my life. He knows someone who he believes is very good. So I'm willing to do that. It is hard to accept that I probably will never get back to normal and I will never give up doing whatever I can to get better. While I was there he found that I have a bladder infection didn't really think about it till the next day but wonder if that could explain some of why my pain level has been so much higher the last 2 weeks. So I have medicine for that. Maybe I will feel a little less pain when the infection is gone.
Hope you all have a good night and a better day coming tomorrow.


January - December 17

Glad you had a good session with your doctor - but I don't understand his reluctance to refer you for the sitting MRI, especially since your insurance already said OK! Do you NEED a referral, or can you just go without one? The doctor who referred me was my regular internist, several years ago. Long term pain management is a good idea - stay as active as you can within reason. I had horrendous reactions to antidepressants (which is what everyone is pushing now), but for years have done well on a low dose of pain meds and some alternative supplements like SAM-e. Feel better soon! (Cranberry juice or the supplements help prevent bladder infections by making it hard for the bacteria to attach to the wall of the bladder.)


littleloey - December 17

Hi January,
I don't totally understand all his reasons but I guess what it came down to is that I have fairly bad scoliosis ( which has caused pain my entire adult life, just worse as I've aged) and I have the slightly bulging disc that does not appear to need surgical intervention as of the time I had my last MRI, and I have spondylosis. He feels strongly that it is the combination of these three things causing my walking difficulty and pain.
I'm too old (62)to have surgery for the scoliosis. If a positional MRI showed anything more, the only thing that I possibly could do is have some sort of back surgery. I would still have spondylosis and scoliosis and therefore the back pain and maybe still the walking difficulty. I don't think I would opt for any surgery under those circumstances.
His feeling is that we need to work with the pain specialist to improve my quality of life and find what will help me best and to try to keep the FM under control. The MRI he is going to do is mainly to see if there are any changes or progression of what they have found previously.
He has been my Dr for 6 years now and he is the most caring and best Dr. I have ever had in my entire life. He's mid-forties at most, so young enough not to be stuck in the past and not unaware of new technologies. I feel as if he would advise me the same as he would advise anyone in his own family.
My rheumatologist has me on effexor for my FM , before that it was Cymbalta. They have not given me a bad reation but in truth I don't feel they have any effect at all. The only reason I continue to take them is because I'm afraid if I refuse to take them my disability insurance will end my benefits. They denied me when I first applied because I was not taking any pain pills. So they figured my condition couldn't be all that bad. The reason I don't usually take them is because every one they have ever given me makes me sick to my stomach even at low doses. The dose that I am able to take really doesn't help the pain much. Just dulls it a little. They have even given me a medicine to calm my stomach to take with the pain med. That did not work either. I had the same problem with SAM-e. I just have an extremely sensitive stomach I guess.
Oh, goodness, I have gone on and on. I'm sorry this is so long. I just feel like I'm talking to an old friend who understands what I'm feeling with the FM and also the back pain. It's very hard for those who haven't been there to really understand. Thanks for being there for me.


January - December 17

Hi - I can so relate to what you are saying! I have many blown disks and stenosis, but nobody knew how bad it was until I got the sitting MRI. I can't do extensive surgery either, but I need to maintain some quality of life! Glad you have a good caring doctor - we are both very lucky! Maybe, since they already know the general problems you have, they don't think the new MRI is so necessary. Sounds like it's mainly about you feeling better so you can walk around and function without so much discomfort.

We are all so different, your post just reminds me. I had a horrible time with antidepressant drugs - and have many friends who suffer severe side effects and no relief with them. I never want to take one again. But you seem to be OK with them and instead, you have trouble tolerating pain meds. For me, Percocet has worked very well (and I take liver-protecting herbs because of the acetaminophen) -- but I remember years ago being given some kind of pain meds that made me really nauseous. Maybe you just have to find the "right" medication to treat your pain. I agree, Cymbalta and Effexor are useless at treating pain. They are not telling the truth in the marketing of these drugs, in my opinion. Maybe they treat pain that is imaginary, but they sure don't help back pain.

Have you tried Lidocaine patches? My old internist gave me these - you can cut them up and put them wherever you have pain. They work! The only problem is they don't stick to your skin well. I have solved that problem by first moistening (and cleaning) my skin with Purell hand sanitizer so it's slightly damp - I put a patch on and then I lie on my heating pad for a while. That seems to bond the patch to the skin, and it stays put for a day. What a difference they make!

Hope you find something soon to relieve your pain. It feels so much better when you get the right meds, that your body can tolerate, and that work for you! Good luck with everything.

And, PS feel free to go "on and on!" That's the nice thing about this place… the people here really do "get it!" I rant a lot sometimes, but I also like reading about other peoples' experiences. I think there is great value in online communities - we can pull together and educate each other, and push for needed changes in the care of our disease. Nobody cares as much as WE do about getting better understanding and relief for this!


mypain - December 31

In the last six months...I have gone from trying to tell my 3rd foot doctor that my feet feel like they are rubbing bone on bone to have all three of them tell me it's my arch, I am not wearing the right shoes, to finally going to an orthopedic surgeon who instantly diagnosed me with burcitis. Gave me medicine that within days has enabled me to walk again! However the pain in my hips is so bad that shots are the only thing helping and only for weeks at a time. Went for an MRI today to see what is going on...the xray showed bone spurs....I am thinking when is it going to end???? I stopped taking cymbalta completely 3 months ago...and I am wondering if it was masking the pain...

Any thoughts??


January - January 3

I wonder if some of the antidepressants we are prescribed actually cause pain…. just my own experience of feeling worse when I took those meds, and feeling really bad during the withdrawal phase. Maybe they do something to our brain chemistry that makes us more sensitive, especially once we stop them.

Do you have multiple problems going on? You mention pain in your feet - then a diagnosis of bursitis. Was that related to your hip? Are you getting injections into your hip? Most doctors do not recommend frequent shots. Where are the bone spurs located? Is it possible that you have a lower back problem that is radiating pain into your hip and/or down your legs to your feet?

If you are getting repeated cortisone shots -?- you might want to check on that. You can put "cortisone shots" into the blue search box at the right - or just google. Research the use of cortisone. Last year the Wall Street Journal published an article stating that cortisone shots provided short term relief for inflamed tendons (like tennis elbow), but caused increased pain after 6-12 months. Cortisone is only helpful if the problem is caused by inflammation. I don't think cortisone can cure bone spurs - you need surgery for that.

You also run the risk of infection when you get injections into your joints - and cortisone lowers your immune system's ability to fight off infection. Maybe you already know this -- we have to make our own decisions based on the risk/reward ratio we're comfortable with.



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