Pain Management/Spinal mri


My dad has spinal issues and they did an mri and said they saw infection in lumbar 4/5. Ok I understand what that means. We are waiting on blood results. My question is how do they "see" infection with an mri?

K,  you are asking a very intelligent question. I don't know the exact answer, but I'm going to presume that they can tell infection in the same way that a dentist can visualize an infection in a tooth.  And that would be by the presence of fluid at the root of the tooth  found on x-ray. so in the same manner a radiologist can probably tell the infection in the spinal canal  by the presence of opaque fluid (cloudy instead of clear) fluid between the discs which would indictate  an infection there. That is my assumption, but I think that I'm right on this one.  Radiologists  are highly trained to see things such as that, especially on an MRI.  I hope this has helped a little.  The bloodwork would be a definitive, but I certainly hope that if an infection is present at L4-5 that it will be treated aggressively. Any infection in the spinal column or any part of the central nervous system is very very serious.  I had one patient who was paralyzed indefinitely in both legs due to an infection in the spinal canal that had not been treated properly and early enough. Your dad is fortunate to have you looking out for him. The best of luck. Please write back in to me if you need further help

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Patricia M


I welcome questions from people who may want a "nurse's perspective" on the subject of chronic pain and pain management. I am a nurse, NOT a physician (MD).I can answer questions on medications, alternative approaches, and the various organs and body systems. There are many avenues to explore with chronic pain. I am against seeing patients suffer simply because healthcare professionals might suspect they are "drug seekers". There are methods of identifying true pain, and this makes patients feel as if they are taken seriously, which they should be.


Over 25 years working experience in Internal Medicine, Adult Cardiology, Post-Surgery care, Cancer, psychiatry and some experience as a lay-counselor in addictive medicine (dependence to alcohol and/or drugs, both legal and illegal drugs).

I am an Expert with AllExperts in several areas: Pharmacy, Internal Medicine, Medical Errors. Feel free to check my Q&A history as well as my ratings, which are very high.

Diploma from hospital-based nursing school. Additional courses in pharmacology. I keep current in continuing education. Am currently working as lay-counselor which can lead to my certification as Substance Abuse Counselor.

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Dean's List while in college.

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Internal medicine patients, cardiology patients recovering from heart disease and/or open-heart surgery, cancer, as well as recently working as a lay-counselor to individuals dealing with addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. NOTE: Just because I attempt to help patients with addictive diseases, I have over 25 years in Internal Medicine, have nursed patients with great deal of pain, and I am compassionate. I never label anyone as a "drug seeker". I have seen that done for years, and am against it. All patients should be evaluated for pain in a fair and comprehensive manner. Am an Expert with AllExperts in three other medical categories; feel free to check my ratings, which are high.

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