Our expert says:
Dear Amanda. I am not a neurologist, but I discussed your problem with a very good neurologist and he and I both agree: at the age of 42, compression of the medulla oblongata by the vertebral artery seems highly unlikely. Who made the diagnosis, and how was it made? Atypical neuralgia may arise from all sorts of other conditions, and compression of the medulla oblongata by a vertebral artery seems the least likely possible diagnosis.
Unless the diagnosis is certain, there is no point in speculating about the risks of the condition. My advice would be to get a second opinion from a good neurologist and if necessary a good general physician. It sounds as though you have multiple symptoms which cannot be due to one focal neurological abnormality. An MRI may certainly help if the doctors who you see think there is a good reason to do one. However, it may be possible to put your mind at rest without necessarily doing an MRI.
Best wishes, JT
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