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Is the MRI needed now or not?

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After working out on the treadmill (had not exercised in years) every day for over a month. No stretches or slow start or slow down. Hit it hard and heavy every single day for 1 - 1.7 miles. No discomfort. After 3 weeks I mentioned during my routine video visit with my family doc that (only) my gluteal muscles felt tight and sore. He said it was the treadmill and told me to not exercise so hard.

Almost 2 weeks later of the same hard treadmill exercise I woke one morning unable to bear weight on my legs due to excruciating pain in my bilateral butt, back thighs, down the leg. After a hot bath I could walk with discomfort. Doc suggested Advil and a visit. During visit took X-rays of my lumbar spine, sacrum/coccyx, and pelvis. No tumors were visualized, no problems, except the lumbar spine had the expected degenerative changes and mild retrolisthesis and mild anterolisthesis, perhaps due to my osteoporosis. Doc thought it might be sciatic pain from the mild lumbar spine age-related degenerative changes and thought it wise just to rule out a spinal tumor and ordered an MRI

I knew it was muscular pain and my back didn't hurt I'd just had my mammogram, 12 years cancer-free this week. Waiting for MRI, he sent me to physical therapy in his office who diagnosed it decidedly as Piriformis Syndrome, my first thought a couple weeks ago. The lead therapist said the diagnosis was 100% Piriformis Syndrome, but didn't feel it was their place to question the MRI because I could have a metastasis anywhere in my body at any time. I'm confused now I just don't see how a lumbar MRI with no back pain was being pursued except to cover bases because if I have a net, I could have one anywhere.

If it were you, would you go through with the lumbar spine MRI, the initial idea, if the physical therapy continued to help? Would you hold off just for now? The family doc can give no specific reason for the MRI except my history of BC Frankly, years ago I was seen only in our hospital's large Breast Clinic where I felt my care was more defined and knowledgeable, but after several years cancer-free we're sent back to our family practice and can't see the Breast Clinic

No lymph node involvement during surgery and very clear margins at cancer site. Last week was my 12th mammogram cancer free. In addition to Piriformis diagnosis (due to exercise overuse, no stretching, bad technique, no exercise for years before) do you think this could still involve lumbar spine metastasis? Thanks for helping,

Faith


Comments

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 46,929
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    It totally seems exercise related to me. If you go from zero exercise to doing the same repetitive exercise every single day for weeks, I would be surprised if you didn't have some problems. I'd cancel the MRI and stick with the PT for now. When you resume exercising, start slow, do a variety of exercises, stretch before & after, and take a day off every week. (I exercise a lot and this is just my personal, non-medical opinion, of course.)

  • byfaith
    byfaith Member Posts: 48
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    Thanks, Ruth. I still have time to do my therapy and think. PT will take some time!Have a great weekend!


  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 46,929
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    If it will make you too nervous NOT to have it, do it. But since your problems can be pinpointed directly to exercise, I think you will find that everything is fine. Could you call your Breast Clinic & explain what is going on. Perhaps they could be a second opinion. Since your GP's recommendation for an MRI is based on your history of BC, I would think they should be willing to see you....r consult with you anyway.

  • meme5
    meme5 Member Posts: 43
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    I had very similar symptoms about 2 years ago. I was very concerned so called my oncologist who ordered x rays of spine, Cat scans,bone scan, etc and then an MRI. I could not let go of the what ifs so I did every test he ordered which ultimately showed Osteoarthritis, osteopenia, some minor spine issues etc. The tests are there to rule out bigger issues and having had them done ultimately put my mind at ease. That being said I am a believer in also trusting my gut along with getting other Dr opinions if necessary. I wish you peace on your journey


  • byfaith
    byfaith Member Posts: 48
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    Thanks meme5 for your prompt reply. You certainly had a lot of tests, so must have had peace of mind after! Glad it’s all behind you.

    I have some idea what they’ll find because my fam doc already had X-rays of the lumbar spine, sacral area, and pelvis in the office. I’m fairly sure they’ll find in the lumbar spine:osteoporosis or osteopenia, osteoarthritis and mild retrolisthesis and mild anterolisthesis. Fam doc wants to rule out fractures caused by osteoporosis or a tumor on my lumbar spine as a source of the pain. I’ve stressed that it’s muscular pain (like spasms, some sciatica) most definitely starting in the gluteals and running down the leg with some numbness/tingling in the feet at times I pointed to the exact area bilaterally it starts. Because it involves sciatica, she ordered the lumbar MRI, but I don’t have back or spinal pain. Fam doc referred me to a highly qualified PT who said I most certainly have piriformis syndrome. I’ve been doing PT for 3 days and this was the first morning I woke up able to bear weight without excruciating pain for the last 3 weeks. I was in shock! I hope it continues tomorrow morning. The rest of the day I can walk but with piriformis home PT discomfort and use Advil as needed.

    Not exactly sure why doc wants a lumbar MRI. My history of BC seems to have greatly influenced her scheduling the MRI. I pray all turns out well

    May I ask what you were experiencing similar to me and if any of your stated conditions were a factor?


    Faith




  • meme5
    meme5 Member Posts: 43
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    I pretty much had most of what you have but was also under a ton of stress from family matters. The body keeps the score!It got bad enough that I could not be in the car for over 30 miles due to pain, always had pillows of some kind around me. Then I went to PT for 8 weeks which helped a lot and I started walking about 25 minutes a day, lost 20 pounds over a little less than two years and all the back pain has subsided unless I start lifting heavy things like groceries or plants. I love gardening but try to be really careful and not overdo but I always overdue anyway!

  • kbl
    kbl Member Posts: 2,682
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    I would get the MRI. I had a car accident in 2013. Horrible sciatic pain, almost to the point of having to go out on short-term at work. Had an MRI, where cancer was indicated. Had testing for multiple myeloma, which is what they thought it was. Negative. Not told to investigate further. Six years later, spread to my stomach. I'm thinking it's probably sciatic and you'll be fine. Have the test. Better safe than sorry later.


    They’ve never found the cancer in my breast, just so you know.

  • byfaith
    byfaith Member Posts: 48
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    Thank you KBL, I’m definitely following through with the MRI

    So your doctors discovered metastases in your stomach, but never the breast ILC? What led them to your stomach? I’m just assuming they deduced it was ILC metastatic due to the pathology? So odd they never found the ILC. You’v been through so much. My heart goes out to you. xo

    Faith

  • kbl
    kbl Member Posts: 2,682
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    byfaith, I’ll try to give you the condensed version. Lol. I had a car accident in 2013. An MRI of lumbar was read as having some sort of metastatis through my whole spine and bone marrow. They thought it was multiple myeloma. When that came back negative, I went on with life. After two more MRIs in 2015 and 2016, had a bone marrow biopsy. They didn’t do it guided. The spot they picked was negative for cancer. In 2018, the stomach issues started. Not being able to eat and losing all the weight really quickly. Endoscopy said adenocarcinoma, but after further testing, was shown to be breast cancer, which is what they saw in 2013. I went six years with no treatment. I may have been able to stop it from spreading for longer had I known. The anger is gone, and I try to live every day that I have as best I can. It really helped that right after I was diagnosed, my daughter had my grandson. He has been a great distraction.

    Please let me know how it goes.

  • byfaith
    byfaith Member Posts: 48
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    Congratulations on your grandson! My daughter just had a baby girl and I so agree with you that they brighten our days and our outlook on life!

  • kbl
    kbl Member Posts: 2,682
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    congratulations to you as well. The time goes so fast. Mine will be three next month. Enjoy every day you get with her.