Everyone has had back pain or knows someone who has back pain. It is no surprise then to find that back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. It costs Americans $50 billion in health care costs every year.
The back is a complex structure and vital for healthy movement. It is remarkable that the back can deteriorate to a significant degree and yet the person can continue to function in many normal activities.
The spine can deteriorate up to 20% in 20-year-olds and up to 40% in 40-year-olds and so it goes on. It is partly for this reason that MRI is not always recommended for back problems or back pain as it can demonstrate abnormalities that are not directly causing the symptoms.
This rationale is based on traditional laydown MRI techniques. What if it was possible to use an MRI that allowed the patient to put themselves into positions that elicit their symptoms and then capture an MRI? You may be thinking, do I need an MRI for back pain like this? Find out in this article.
What is an MRI?
This is a solid question and it is important to understand the difference between MRI and other imaging techniques. There is a nice explanation here.
The important point to understand is that MRI is able to take snapshots of your back that includes tissues deep within your body. For this reason, MRI is a useful tool when diagnosing brain tumors.
Traditional MRI is supine. That means you have to lie down and be enclosed within the imaging machine. This means your body is at rest during the scan.
That is often a good thing as it can be stressful under those circumstances, but laying down does not always show an injury.
MRI for Back Pain – An Alternative
The sensitivity of MRI is well acknowledged in the medical profession. The use of MRI dates back decades. As the technique has developed, so have the applications.
Now, you can have an MRI that is not constrained by the traditional approach of being confined within a machine while lying down. Instead, you can stand up and even apply yourself to specific positions of pain; all the while not being enclosed within the imaging machinery.
MRI for Back Pain – The Big Advantage
Have you had the experience of going to the doctor and when they examine you, your symptoms are temporarily not present? Because you are laying down at rest, traditional MRI can have the same issue.
The big advantage of stand up MRI is that you can put yourself into a position in which your symptoms of pain are present. During that pose, it is possible to then take images of your back and deep tissue structures.
MRI is a tool and not a diagnosis, but perhaps you see the advantage in using a powerful tool with even greater skill.
Are You Ready for an MRI?
Should I get an Upright MRI for back pain or not? Only you and your doctor can answer that question. We hope this article has explained the rationale and advantage of doing so.
It is important you have the freedom to choose. You can read more on this subject on our website and make an appointment to discuss your options here.