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Spine and Back Health

`Loss of signal`on MRI

05/15/2006

Question:

Approx 3 years ago I fell and was dx with a bilateral sacro-iliac sprain. A MRI was done and showed a "loss of signal" in the lumbar area. I was sent to an Oncologist who did several tests and felt that there was no further need for f/u as the yearly lumbar MRI`s have showed no change. I did have an elevated albulmin/globulin ratio but Onco was not concerned about it. I have now developed severe lower back pain that radiates down my left leg. I have periods of leg weakness. I have constant "pressure" on the area and I am more uncomfortable sitting than standing. I also have occassional stabbing pain with certain movements. The last MRI showed mild DJD and no change in the area of "lost signal". I have no dx since theie is no positive findings on the MRI. I am not sure what my next step should be. I have though about asking my MD for a discogram and a lumbar CT. What would you recommend?

Answer:

It is impossible to diagnose conditions over the internet, however the problems that you describe sound to be non-surgical. It is likely that no one test will find a specific treatable abnormality. In this circumstance it is best to focus on functional improvement often with the help of a pain management physician.

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Response by:

Anthony Guanciale, MD
Associate Professor and Director, Division of Spine Surgery
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati