Donald Corenman, MD, DC
Post count: 8436

Fonar MRIs are of lesser quality but if you already have paid out of pocket for this, don’t immediately run to get a higher quality MRI. The images might be acceptable.

I understand completely about your experience at the VA. Years ago I was on staff there and know how problematic it is.

The spinal canal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal) can put the cord at risk with a fall impacting the front of your head (see central cord syndrome). However, with a Fonar MRI, the potential for this injury is limited if they only found stenosis in extension (bending your head backwards).

Find a good sympathetic local spine surgeon who has good diagnostic skills. The history and physical examination should give a very good idea of your potential pain generators. The imaging should lead to one or two “suspects”. It is then a matter of using diagnostic injection (see website) to understand what the primary pain generator is.

You might need surgery if the injections do not yield long term relief and surgery is not inexpensive (and either are the injections). You could use the work-up by this outside physician to take to the spine clinic at the VA and see if they will consider doing the surgery.

Dr. Corenman