How Imaging Can Help Relieve Aches and Pains
When you have aches and pains in your back or another part of your body, it can affect your daily life and prevent you from doing activities you enjoy. Imaging, such as MRI and CT scans, can often help your doctor uncover the cause of your discomfort and determine the best treatment to get you on the road to feeling better faster.
Reasons to have an MRI for pain
Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to create high-resolution images inside your body. An MRI is most useful for getting clear images of soft tissues, including ligaments, tendons and spinal discs.
If you are experiencing back pain, your doctor will examine you and assess your symptoms to decide whether an MRI is needed. Your doctor may wait before ordering imaging in some cases to see if nonsurgical treatments, such as physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications or other pain relievers, alleviate the pain. If pain becomes more severe or the doctor suspects it is stemming from a spinal problem that may require surgery, such as lumbar disc herniation, he or she may choose to order an MRI sooner. Back pain accompanied by leg or neck pain can be a sign of such spinal conditions. An MRI can also rule out other serious causes of pain, such as tumors or spinal infections.
In addition to spinal problems, an MRI can help diagnose injuries, including common sports injuries such as torn knee ligaments and cartilage and torn rotator cuffs.
Reasons to have a CT scan for pain
A computed tomography, or CT, scan also creates detailed pictures of structures inside your body, but unlike an MRI, it uses radiation and computer technology to produce the images. CT scans can give more detailed views of bones than an MRI and are also better for showing certain organs and tissues.
Your doctor will likely order a CT scan instead of an MRI if you have experienced a trauma, such as a fall or another accident, and he or she suspects you have a fracture. Additionally, if you have serious muscle aches or a possible injury to an organ, a CT scan can give your doctor a clear view of the damage to that part of the body. If you have symptoms of a specific type of cancer, a CT scan can aid in diagnosis as well.
How American Health Imaging can help
Highly trained, board-certified subspecialized radiologists provide accurate results you and your doctor can trust.* The crisp, clear images will help your doctor determine the cause of your pain and develop the treatment plan that is right for you.
With convenient centers throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas, AHI makes getting high-quality medical imaging convenient and cost-effective. Use our cost calculator to understand the costs of MRI and CT scans.
Do you have a doctor’s order for an MRI or CT scan? Request an appointment at an American Health Imaging center near you.