An MRI scan is used across all medical professions to find out what is going on inside the body, much in the same way as a X-ray or ultrasound. Each different type of imaging is a form of investigation and is suitable for different issues and diagnoses. For example, X-rays are often used to look for bone fractures and ultrasound is commonly used during pregnancy for checking the growth of the baby. An MRI is often used by chiropractors because it shows soft tissues as well as bones.
What is an MRI Scan?
MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and uses magnetic fields to create images of the body. For this reason it can be more effective than an X-ray, and doesn’t use any radiation.
Because an MRI scanner produces detailed images of the body, it can be very helpful in diagnosing conditions and allowing practitioners to treat issues effectively. Any part of the body can be looked at with an MRI scan, but they are often used to examine the brain, breasts, internal organs or spinal cord. MRI scans are one of the safest medical forms of imaging currently available, and it is a painless procedure. However, most MRI scanners are long tubes and patients need to be lay down for a long period of time. People who suffer with claustrophobia may find the scan uncomfortable.
Why would a Chiropractor Refer me for an MRI Scan?
An MRI is a longer and more complex procedure than an X-ray, but it may be necessary in order to see the soft tissues in the back. MRI scans can be used to assess problems with the joints and surrounding muscles and ligaments of the shoulders and knees, as well as the discs of the spine.
If a chiropractor thinks you have a suspected disc issue which could be the cause of your back pain, they may request an MRI scan to confirm this is the case. A prolapsed disc (a disc which is out of place and putting pressure on a nerve) is difficult to diagnose without seeing the shape and placement of the vertebrae inside the back. An MRI scan may be recommended before the chiropractor offers chiropractic treatment, to make sure they will be able to help you and relieve the pain.
At CW Chiro we have the facilities to refer patients for MRI scans with very little wait time – in fact, we can often arrange an MRI for the same day if convenient. If you are worried about the scan you can discuss your concerns with your chiropractor, and then the radiographer who will perform the scan.