Last reply 7 months ago

Do others on here usually get just brain MRI or full spinal cord too?

I have an MRI next week, was going to happen as a regular check anyway but I did also mention at my recent neurologist appointment I have had some symptoms in my leg (unsure if new or old ones coming back).

The MRI I am having is for brain and cervical spine but I spoke to a friend with MS who said she has also had leg symptoms and is being put in for a full back scan to check the full spinal cord.

Does anyone know if leg symptoms are more likely to come from lesions lower down on the spinal cord or if they will be able to tell just from the brain and neck scan I am having?


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7 months ago

Thanks for asking the question @amys.

I have an MRI scan of the head and cervical spine booked for the end of this month and with drop foot being my first ever symptom, it would be interesting to know the answer to your post.


7 months ago


Supposedly – the brain MRI tells all. Along with the spinal tap…

Having stated that – no idea what the information is good for – specialist just tell us to have a good life; until we die.

Follow the healthy food recommendations; plus take D + Omega pills every day and continue living your life – having fun along the way…

7 months ago

I’m one of the old codgers, had my first MRI 25 years ago, long before they gave u ear protection! Am having one next Saturday, 4 seperate ones head/head with contrast, cervical spine/cervical spine with contrast. Should take up to an hour, depends on how the needle goes in for the contrast. If you don’t know, it’s a dye that they inject into your blood system (via the needle in a vein) if you haven’t had one before, a talking book or your favourite music is a good idea, relives the boredom and helps drown out the noise! If u have restless legs or like me can’t lie flat they gave a triangle cushion to put under your slightly bent knees a. I believe they rarely do full spine because it isn’t necessary as cervical spine shows any damage that may be causing problems lower down the legs. Good luck😍

7 months ago

@amys , there’s an article here, which may, or may not, provide the answers:-

7 months ago


Hi Amy

This is something that has crossed my mind a few times.

I have only had 2 MRI Scans since diagnosis last year, both on the Brain, no mention of spinal scans at all. I have a lot of lower back issues, so I would have thought a spinal scan would be of some use, unless I’ve missed something.

7 months ago

@amys just recently had mris ordered by my neurologist on my brain and cervical spine with and without dye. i have problems with my legs too. I think that is standard.

7 months ago

I guess the neurologist decide based on what he observed at the clinic and on the symptoms you’ve had
Maybe also at since when you’ve bern daignosed
Last 3 years i was doing brain only but after i got leg foot toes symptom this year its brain and spain

7 months ago

@amys have you had other mris in the past? Typically after the first set they will likely only do brain mris because the theory is with the spinal cord being so small it’s hard to have activity there without you being aware of it. On the other hand you can easily have activity in the brain and not know it. The primary goal of the mri is to try to see if there is progression.

7 months ago

I recently went for a cervical spine mri with contrast. During the scan, based on what they coud see, they decided to scan further down. The results show that i have bothe cervical and thoracic spinal lesions. I guess that if they feel its beneficial to scan more they will.
My symptoms are bladder issues, foot drop but by far my worst symptom is constant pain in both legs and now both arms are beginning to get weaker and more painful amongst other things aswell.
For me, the recent scan hasnt given me any answers for why im getting worse as none if my lesions were showing activity.
I do hope you get the answers you need.
Take care

7 months ago

I recently had one just last week, and it was only of my head my neuro usually does ever second MRI with both head and spine as it works out cheaper and with my current health I dont need the close monitoring.

best of luck


7 months ago

I had my first mri session three years ago and apparently had the whole works according to the three in all which took an hour .
When I was diagnosed aged 16 in 1965 there were obviously no mri s available .
It was just lumbar puncture and lots of X-rays basically to eliminate everything else.
Brain tumours etc.
The mris I then had were not really very helpful and just show some historic damage so nothing really of anything conclusive to note. I have a couple of T2 hypetintensities on the brain scan but these happen as one gets older anyway ..apparently I have now morphed to SPMS…a word that didn’t exist in 1965.
This was all a rather surreal experience as I had gone for over 45 years with no evidence of any disease at all and made a complete recovery from the severe episode I had in the past.
I don’t go for any MRI s at all now..I see no reason to spend any time in a tunnel in order to find out if there is any further damage visible ( which I doubt would be the case ) as why would I want to know if there is nothing that can be done ? Waste of time and nhs money in my opinion.
I appreciate thougn that people with RRMS are in a totally different situation and that mris may well be indicated .
I moved recently and was asked if I wanted to be under a consultant. I refused again on the same basis..waste of time and money. I see no reason to travel quite a long distance for a 15 minute catch up with a medic. If a new treatment is ever going to be available for SPMS I would be at the back of the queue anyway as Professor Giovannoni has said. Any new drug would be age related.
I have an ms nurse if I need advice.. again I don’t go for regular check ups..why would I ..if I need anything I will use the phone
I do keep myself very informed about everything now but after 50 years I feel I am probably in a position to say that until a cause is found it all seems to be supposition and trial and error. I consider myself to have been extremely fortunate to have gone for so many years with absolutely no symptoms or relapses and without any meds . But at the risk of appearing negative, despite massive research and dedicated researchers that holy grail does not seem to be any nearer than it was in 1965.

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