Do I Need an MRI?
It is important to pay attention to your body. Muscle or back pain could be the result of working yourself too hard at the gym. A bad headache could be because of a lack of sleep or dehydration. But when that pain is so intense that it hinders you from doing your daily tasks and it won’t go away, it is time to seek out a doctor.
Do not just “Google” your symptoms and self-diagnose. This often leads to either convincing yourself that everything is fine or that you have a terminal illness. Instead – see a medical professional to get their opinion. If necessary, they may suggest an MRI.
An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a great way to determine what is going on in your body, but how do you know it is for you? Read on for everything you need to know.
How Does an MRI Work?
An MRI is a machine that allows doctors to see the bones, organs, and tissues inside your body. A strong magnetic field and radio waves are used to realign hydrogen atoms in the body. Water makes up 60% of the human body and all of those hydrogen molecules align with the magnetic field. When this happens, signals are sent to a scanner and an image is created of the inside of the body. MRI operators are able to manipulate the settings of the scanner to distinguish between different tissues.
What to Expect During an MRI
When you have an MRI scan scheduled, a doctor may ask you to not eat or drink a few hours prior to the appointment if the examination is looking at your abdominal or pelvic region. You will also have to remove any metal accessories such as rings, earrings or glasses to avoid problems with the magnetic field.
In some cases, your doctor may inject you with a contrast agent, which is a substance that will light up during the scan and allow doctors to get a better look at the heart, brain and blood vessels.
You will have to put on a gown and lay down on a table inside of the tube-shaped machine. You will wear a headset for the doctor to communicate with you. It is imperative that you stay as still as possible. If the MRI is focusing on the brain, the doctor will have you do a task so your brain activity can be monitored.
The machine is very loud and can be uncomfortable for those who experience feelings of claustrophobia. The MRI can take 15 minutes to an hour. If the noise levels are too loud, you can ask the doctors for earplugs or to play music through the provided headset. If you are claustrophobic or have anxiety the doctors may be able to administer an anesthetic or anti-anxiety medication.
What Can an MRI Diagnose?
An MRI could detect many conditions such as:
- Spinal cord injuries (often caused by trauma such as a car accident)
- Blocked or swollen blood vessels
- Joint damage
- Damage from a heart attack
- Problems with your eye or inner ear
Risks of Getting an MRI
There is no risk of exposure to radiation when getting an MRI, unlike CT scans and X-Rays. However, there can be other risks depending on certain medical conditions such as epilepsy, allergies, pregnancy, hypotension, and anemia. If a contrast agent is used before the scan, there are side effects that range from mild symptoms to life-threatening ones. Patients that have any implants or prosthetics that contain metal cannot get an MRI because of the magnetic field.
Once you get your results back from an MRI, it is important to not immediately rush to get surgery on something that you may be able to treat other ways. There have been where a patient has opted for surgery to fix a problem. In some cases, the surgery does not help and they could have avoided all of the money and risk by simply treating their condition with physical therapy.
Physical Therapy In Miami
If you do end up getting an MRI and are diagnosed with a condition that can be treated with physical therapy, we invite you to join to us at Physical Therapy Now. Do not endure the pain and monetary costs associated with surgery if it isn’t necessary. Give us a call at (888) 481-4582 to schedule your first appointment. Let’s do this together!