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Just had MRI results - confused

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Hi all


So suddenly last month I started having strange neurological symptoms, starting with a sensitive patch on my left arm then numbness and pins and needles in my right arm and hand. I had such exhaustion that I could barely function. I also had lower back pain and electric shock sensations down my spine. I had other strange symptoms that came and went over three weeks like a pressure on my right ribcage and tinnitus. I was referred for MRI. Anyway, after 3 weeks I started to feel much better, I should add I had pins and needles and exhaustion for a month last October.


I just had a phone call from the neurologist who said he'd like to examine me but said I have optic neuritis on my MRI but can't see and other lesions, so it's not ms. Although he mentioned Evoked potential testing. I'm just feeling a bit confused now as I know optic neuritis is often a sign of ms, and not even a symptom I had noticed. Would it be impossible for me to have it on the basis of seeing nothing else? Googling it, it seems a coincidence that it is very linked to ms. The Dr sounded like he was only looking at the scans on the phone and was making his mind up about it. Has anyone else experienced this? 

Of course as soon as I got off the phone I had loads of questions!

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Hi Whatisit, Welcome to the forum.


The last bit of your questions gives a clue as to what to do next.  Make a list. Think of  all the questions you want to ask and make another list of all your symptoms.  Before your next appointment condense these lists down to short bullet points and take it along to the appointment.  This way, hopefully you won't forget anything. 

It's very difficult to give you advice, as conditions like MS can be quite complex, and for this reason the only one who can properly give you a diagnosis of what's wrong is the neurologist.  The brain is a complex beast and it often takes several appointments for the neurologist to make any kind of diagnosis. 

You are correct in saying Optic Neuritis is often found in MS patients, however this doesn't preclude ON from other conditions. 

Please avoid Dr Google, stick to the MS Society and MS Trust sites. 

This site may prove very useful as there are several very knowledgable people here.  

Hope that helps a bit 



  • Like 1

Just another Warrior...........

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Hi Whatisit and another "welcome to the forum"!


Nick's given some sound advice. Making lists is one of the most important things you can do. Also, the physical examination may help further as neuros can't really go on a single MRI alone.


Is your neuro an MS specialist? If not, it can happen that they don't always know that much about MS as they don't specialise in it. An MS specialist will also know what type of lesion to look for as well as the location of lesions, as one can have lesions that aren't related to MS at all. If he's not an MS specialist, you might be able to ask your GP for a referral to one who is. This link will help you find an MS neuro closest to you:



Use our map to search for an MS service that is near to you


Also, sometimes, neuros might need to wait for at least 3 months to take another MRI for "dissemination in time and space":



The McDonald criteria for diagnosing multiple sclerosis were revised in 2017. Learn more about the McDonald criteria in this A-Z entry.


Additonally, it used to be said that lesions might not show in about 5% of people with MS, but I don't know if that still stands as MRI technology has moved forward since then. It might also be that any previous lesions may have healed themselves and it needs more time for lesions to show up:



In multiple sclerosis, the term lesion or plaque, refers to an area of damage or scarring (sclerosis) in the central nervous system caused by MS. Find out more in this A-Z entry.


Good luck and please let us know how you get on, and feel free to ask as many questions as you like.


(belated DX in June '05, SPMS)

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Hi @Whatisit  and welcome.


You have lots of strange and unexplained symptoms. You also have lots of questions and you want answers. That's perfectly understandable. @Nick has provided useful suggestions above to try and manage this.


MS can manifest itself on the brain and down the spinal cord. Did the MRI scan the brain and spine? Additionally, MRI scans may not reveal a full picture.


The Neurologist had obviously seen something that warrants further investigation, hence the Evoked Potentials test. However, MS is a notoriously difficult condition to diagnose so you will need to be patient as the Neurologist investigates further.


Please let us know how things develop and feel free to pose any questions.




John aka Stumbler (as I do fall over!)

Illegitimi non carborundum


"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming... "Wow! What a ride!"

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