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MRI SCAN

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MRI SCAN

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What is an MRI scan?

An MRI scan (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a type of scan that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of organs and structures inside the body.  It is often used to investigate the source of pain in spines, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

Should I have an MRI scan?

There is no simple answer to this question, but the short answer is, probably not.  The large majority of musculoskeletal pain cases (eg. low back pain, shoulder pain, knee pain) do not require an MRI.  Normally a clinical diagnosis will be made by your physiotherapist (or other appropriate specialist) after comprehensively examining you, and a subsequent treatment plan is all that’s required to get you back to where you want to be.

Surely the MRI scan will help to guide treatment?

An MRI scan rarely changes the course of treatment for most back pains or joint pains. The first line of treatment is usually conservative and this will successfully treat the vast majority of the problems – through exercise, activity management and non-invasive treatments.

When would an MRI scan normally be considered?

MRI scans are usually only necessary to rule out sinister pathology or to help plan for surgery. They are also used to investigate when problems fail to resolve after a program of treatment. However, it is important to give your pain and any other symptoms a sufficient time to settle back to normal in combination with the right help and advice before considering any more invasive treatment, such as injections or surgery (treatments that sometimes are  recommended too early because of wear and tear findings seen on MRI).

Is MRI always the best form of scan?

No, MRI may not be the right or the best imaging modality for your condition. Some conditions are better investigated by ultrasound (e.g. certain tendon problems) or x-rays (osteoarthritis of hips or knees).

How would I know if I need an MRI or other form of scan?

Your physiotherapist will take a thorough history and perform a detailed examination. On the basis of this, if your physiotherapist feels a scan or further investigations are necessary they will discuss with you the most appropriate plan of action.

Equally, if you are not making the expected improvement over the anticipated time-frame your therapist may recommend a scan. This would be useful to help plan further treatment of your problem. Ensuring you are following the correct course of treatment.

Fortunately, you don’t have to make this decision on your own.  It is generally the case that you need a referral for an MRI scan. So, the physiotherapist, doctor or other qualified healthcare practitioner will discuss all the issues around whether you should or shouldn’t have an MRI before a decision is made.

What if I want a MRI scan for re-assurance?

Occasionally patients feel that they would like confirmation of their condition prior to embarking on a program of physiotherapy as they may have anxieties about the source of their pain. The psychology of pain and injury plays a significant role. Sometimes it can be helpful for a patient to have an MRI or other form of scan in order for them to feel reassured. Allowing them to engage in physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

Are there any reasons to avoid MRI scans?

There may also be times when you may be advised against having an MRI scan.  The strong magnets used in an MRI scan can affect metal implants or fragments in your body. So it’s important to tell your clinician if you have implants such as a pacemaker, metal from surgery, cochlear implants, shrapnel, or body piercings.  MRI scans are also not usually recommended during pregnancy.

So they are useful sometimes, but not normally necessary?

Exactly. Most people will suffer from pain at some point in their lives – back, shoulders and knees being the most common sources. Especially after a traumatic injury or even an overuse injury.  However, certain symptoms such as severe swelling and joint restriction or instability, or persistent pain without improvement after treatment may warrant further investigations.  The advice is to seek help as soon as possible if your pain, or other abnormal symptoms, aren’t settling.  In most cases your therapist will be able to guide you back to full pain-free function. But there may be times where an MRI is part of that process or guide you to more appropriate treatments.

……and what if I do need one?

If the decision is made to proceed to MRI, Complete Physio have an agreed discounted rate with Vista Diagnostics.  Please speak to your physiotherapist for more information.

Based on 597 reviews.
Ben Reeves
Ben Reeves
2021-03-13
Cannot recommend Dan Boyd enough - I did the clinical bike fit with Dan having had problems knee pain whilst cycling. It's absolutely fantastic to have diagnostic testing from a qualified physio as well as someone to look over your riding position to know you've covered all bases. Dan is really knowledgeable, having worked with a series of competitive riders, and they have a great turbotrainer and camera setup at the practice. He also really goes the extra mile and has been following up with me ever since as part of the clinical bikefit package to ensure I continue my recovery. If you have any issues from riding I wouldn't hesitate to book yourself in with Dan
Virginia Lo
Virginia Lo
2021-03-11
Excellent physiotherapist Dan and Luke!!! I’d to recommend complete physio to everyone without any hesitation
Mrs P
Mrs P
2021-03-11
I suffer from chronic back pain and the physiotherapist knew exactly where to massage to relieve the pain. She also sent me a video afterwards to show how to do few exercises.
Customer
Customer
2021-03-11
I’ll leave full feedback when my therapy programme is completed.
Mr Andrew Allison
Mr Andrew Allison
2021-03-11
Quick simple and straight forward. Why would you pay more than you actually have to?
Giulio Bertocci
Giulio Bertocci
2021-03-06
Very good service, I would recommend it definitely
Mrs Roberta Claudia Saia
Mrs Roberta Claudia Saia
2021-03-04
Very happy with Complete Physio. Alastair is great, the exercises and program given to me are clear to follow. You can log your progress in the app which is a nice perk. I felt in good hands. Thank you
Marta
Marta
2021-03-04
I had an ultrasound guided cortisone injection by Dave Baker. I received extensive information about the procedure and felt in good hands at all times. The injection was surprisingly painless and it started to have effect after few days. Can recommend Complete Physio to anyone needing ultrasound diagnosis or guided injections. Thanks you Dave!
Vivien
Vivien"Knowland HMAR MIFA CHNC reg. reflexologist
2021-03-04
Making an appt a little muddled......l did not receive required Covid form & had to ask for it. However consultation with CM very thorough Fulham clinic well organised & friendly.
Mr R G Luxa
Mr R G Luxa
2021-03-04
Excellent service. I was seen on time and listen too. The procedure was professionally carried out by Chris Myers. Thank you. Robert Luxa

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