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Why would the doctor order a brain MRI w/wo contrast ASAP??

Hi everyone. I'm hoping someone can help me. I'm a ball of nerves and don't know what to think right now.

Severe neck pain, tingling, and muscle spasms

To start, I'm 40, female, and I have a cervical spine degenerative disc disease. I usually have issues with my neck like stiffness or a little bit of pain but it never really lasts for a week or two. Last week I had a neck MRI done because I've been having severe neck pain, tingling, muscle spasms and weakness and whatnot for the past month. The doctor said it was a pinched nerve but wanted me to go for an MRI just to see what was going on.


I finished the MRI and as soon as I got home, which took about 40 minutes from the time I left the MRI place, the doctor's office called me and said the doctor wanted me to do a brain MRI with and without contrast, and it needed to be done ASAP. This MRI is scheduled for Tuesday.

What's troubling me is, if it's just a pinched nerve, why does the doctor need me to do a brain MRI as soon as possible? What could he even be looking for? If he is looking for something going on in my brain, why not schedule it when I had the neck MRI done, why ASAP afterwards?

So nervous and scared

I looked up brain MRI w/wo contrast and the majority of the articles are about MS among other things. Has anyone had anything like this done and if so, what happened? I know I have no choice but to wait until the MRI is done on Tuesday and the followup appt Wednesday for any info. I just wanted to know of anyone could possibly know why he would do this or what he's looking for.

The dr office and a few people said he is trying to get a broader picture and rule anything else out because the neck MRI was possibly normal, but why look at the brain then? If the neck MRI was normal, why not go with the issue being a pinched nerve like he stated before and leave the brain alone? I'm not a doctor, so I can't really question why, but I'm still nervous about all of this. My intuition says MS, but again, I'm not a doctor so I can't say for sure. Sorry if I'm rambling. I'm just so nervous and scared. Anyone have any experience with this?

  1. Hi, Sellfly, its ok, to be nervous( anyone would be) I've been there twice, the first brain MRI the neurologist was looking for CMT( carpal tooth syndrome) lupus & because my mother had Alzheimer's he was checking for that, & also, set me up for genetic testing for the Alzheimer's, so Shellfly, Nervous became my middle name, lol! The second one was done this past January also without contrast and that it's the one that resulted and the diagnosis of MS, the diagnosis gave me relief, because for so long I've had various aches and pains, and prior to having multiple sclerosis I've had my foot drop, it felt so strange,because mentally I could not move my foot! I found myself sitting down for almost 2 hours before that sensation left, and I'll tell you I was very worried my thought went to I must have some sort of brain tumor,ect. Shellfly, I don't know if this suggestion will help you, but tomorrow, just remember that at least you'll. be on the way to having some answers & from there you'll be able to start planning what needs to be done next☺. Shellfly, l wish you well, and; please remember: Facts Over Fear ! (F.O.F)

    1. Hi. Susan here. Ive had so many for all my different diagnoses I should be glowing. My insurance goes step by step in order to pay i believe. A pain for me. Xray.CT.MRI.
      MRI W/Contrast). I still have no diagnosis. New neuro June 12 as i fall all over the place and cant walk. Anyway hope i helped. Its taking a long time for diagnoses. Please take care. Be safe.

  2. Hi ,

    While you're waiting for responses from our experts and other members, I thought I would share: How an MRI Works and What It Tells Us.

    In short, it seems that contrast can make lesions more visible, as well as seeing damage to the brain blood barrier, areas where inflammatory cells may enter and damage the CNS.

    I hope that helps. We're sending all good wishes that you get some answers and some peace of mind. -Warmly, Donna ( team)

    1. Hi Shellfly,

      My take on the brain MRI request: Your cervical MRI might have shone enhanced signals that resemble MS lesions. Perhaps he wanted to be thorough and rule it out as a differential diagnosis.

      I have a herniated disc at C5-6 that produced a signal on the cervical MRI and that delayed my MS diagnosis by years. My neuro told me that nerve impingement can mimic an MS-like lesion.

      I hope you'll update us as soon as you get the results. Thinking of you today-- Kim, moderator

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