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Back Problems Message Board

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I don't think you would gain much by going to the ER. Other than doing some imaging, what are they going to do?

MRI will show nerve compression. However, it will not show nerve irritation, which I suspect is causing the drop foot. It would probably also show if the screw has migrated and is now resting on or becoming entangled in a nerve.

At this point I don't think the EMG test would be particularly helpful, and if you are like me, you don't want to go through it unless you have to! It will show nerve damage...but, you already know that! It won't give you any more information on what is causing it, whether it will fully recover, etc.

Does your PT friend think you should be doing isolated exercises for foot drop?
Hello Teteri66,

Thanks for your response.

Like you mentioned, MRI will show nerve compression but not irritation. Would the XRays show if the screw has migrated and touching the nerve? I know I will get Xray on my post-op next month.

I heard that a standard MRI will NOT work anymore with implants and Myelogram is the only imaging procedure for implants? I'd heard horrid stories about injecting dye into the dura matter and caused more damages to the nerve and excruciating pains. Are there other imaging procedures still work with implants?

I'll start at home PT this week. Not sure what they will do?
I heard about electric stimulation, massage, strengthening exercises might help with foot drop and numbness. Do you have any experiences with these modalities?

I sure hope it's nerve irritation but so far it has not improved at all. In addition, left side of my back started aching! So far nothing has improved and I hate to have more issues....

thanks for listening...

Your information about having a MRI after fusion is not correct. You can have one but there is a possibility that the hardware will through off the clarity of the images. So doctors will recommend you have a MTI "with contrast." The material that provides the contrast is gadolinium which is injected into a vein in your forearm.

Usually they will perform the MRI in the usual way, then pull you out of the tube, inject the dye, and push you back into the tube to finish the exam. The gadolinium circulates through the blood and is absorbed by organs and soft tissue. It attracts the magnets and as a result, makes certain areas display better. Unlike iodine which is used for X-ray and CT scan, few people are allergic to gadolinium. However, you may need to have a blood test (creatinine clearance) done prior to the MRI with contrast to check the rate at which things clear the kidneys.

A myelogram is a much more invasive procedure, and is best avoided when possible.

I do not really know what you will do in physical therapy. It varies a lot according to the doctor and the training of the therapists. I stayed with an aunt who'd had a stroke at age 90, and had drop foot as a result. I took her to all her therapy sessions. She primarily did exercises. It helps to build new neural pathways that help in recovery and helps to keep muscles from atrophy. She also wore a brace for a time that helped to keep the toes from dragging. She eventually recovered full use of the leg and foot. I think it was around 9 months, but I don't really remember.

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