Did you experience severe joint pain for the last few days? Maybe in your knees, hip, shoulder, or neck? Is the joint pain persists and does not even let you sleep at night after your tiring day schedule?
Does your joint pain get worse while walking, climbing stairs, or standing up from your bed or chair? Do the area of your joint that pains so much seem stiff or numb? Or is the pain accompanied by a swelling near the joint?
These are all signs of a serious joint abnormality or disease. And your doctor is likely to recommend a scan to look into it further. In this regard, doctors tend to pick a more accurate and safe scanning modality, and that is none other than, Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI scan!
Do you not want to know how the MRI scan for joint pain helps secure an appropriate treatment? If you do, continue reading this blog post with me!
What Is An MRI Scan and How It Works?
An MRI is a nuclear imaging test that uses a powerful magnetic field to provoke the protons in your body to leave their position and computer-generated radio waves to trace their displacement and send signals to the computer, subsequently mapping the internal anatomy visuals on the screen.
The MRI scan takes place in any radiology center. A radiologist team conducts it, and all the test involves is a semi-circular tube-like MRI scanner machine where the magnets are attached and a computer console to screen the images.
However, sometimes, when the internal images require more clarity, the MRI scan may include a contrast administration. This is basically an injection that you receive into your veins. The contrast materials get mixed into your bloodstream and highlight the soft tissues surrounding your spine. As a result, healthcare providers can fetch accurate diagnoses of the reason behind your joint pain.
The healthcare providers may require around 30 to 45 minutes to conduct an MRI scan. However, during contrast administration, the scan may take even upto 90 minutes. After the scan, you shall be free to return home or office, and there’s no such post-diagnostic care to follow.
In case the contrast material causes side effects like skin rashes, redness, itchiness, swelling, fatigue, or nausea, you may rest and drink more water to flush the dye out of your body system. In doing so, the health symptoms shall automatically leave alongside the contrast dye!
What Does An MRI Scan For Joint Pain Show?
An MRI scan can certainly show the reason behind your joint pain, and it can be –
- Traumatic injury in your joint and internal bleeding,
- Fractures, sprains,
- Osteoarthritis, or the condition in which the cartilage cushioning the space between two bones wears out, making the joints stiff and painful.
- Rheumatoid arthritis, i.e., swelling or deformation of your joints, especially in the fingers or wrists,
- Spondyloarthritis, i.e., an inflammatory disease that eventually leads to the fusion of your vertebrae with the bones in your spine,
- Bursitis, where the fluid-filled pads or bursae protecting your joints get inflamed,
- Gout, or accumulation of uric acid crystals in your joints, causing inflammation and pain,
- Abnormal growth or tumors in or around your joints,
- Avascular necrosis, i.e., lack of blood supply to the bone tissues causing it to die out,
- Inflammation of the tendons, called Tendinitis,
- Hepatitis B and C,
- Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid,
- Septic arthritis, where your joints get infected from the germs traveling through your bloodstream,
- Rickets, or weakening of bones, typically among children,
- Paget’s disease of the bone, where new bone tissue takes the stage, replacing the old one and consequently making your bones fragile,
- Lupus or inflammation caused by your immune system attack, and more!
Why Do Doctors Use An MRI Scan For Joint Pain?
Doctors prescribe and use MRI scans for joint pain for three main reasons. Here they go!
Diagnosing The Underlying Cause Of Joint Pain
Your doctor primarily recommends an MRI scan to locate the cause of your joint pain is! In other words, for disease diagnosis! An MRI can help doctors see both the structural and functional anomalies, their basic characteristics, and their extent. MRIs can also help them in disease staging!
Planning & Guiding A Treatment For Musculoskeletal Diseases
While musculoskeletal diseases are the most plausible cause of your joint pain, an MRI can not just find it out but also help your doctor plan and guide a suitable treatment for it! Doctors use MRI scans to monitor radiation therapy or chemotherapy for cancers in or around your joints, for surgeries to replace the joints, and so forth!
Monitoring How Well Your Body Reacts To A Treatment
Doctors even use MRI scans as a part of post-treatment routine checkups. By using MRI scans, they assess how your body is responding to a respective treatment. It can help your doctor locate scar tissues after surgery or therapy and track the recurrence or relapse of the disease! Your doctor may ask for one scan, two, or three based on your healing progress!
Benefits Of An MRI Scan Over Other Diagnostic Modality: Note Please!
Doctors tend to prefer MRI scans over other diagnostic modalities, be it a Computed Tomography (CT) scan, ultrasound, or a traditional X-ray. Are you wondering why?
You get to discover it now!
Yes. One of the most significant reasons for your doctor to prefer an MRI scan for joint pain and not other methods is that an MRI scan can always benefit with patient’s safety.
While scans like CT or X-ray use ionizing radiation to generate the images, corollary leaving room for health complications like cancers, kidney disease, heart diseases, etc., an MRI scan neither involves harmful radioactive rays nor does it pertain to any risk factors.
Whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding, above 50 or below 18, and have complex heart or kidney diseases, you certainly lay safe to pursue this scan!
Doctors consider MRI a gold-standard method to diagnose diseases causing joint pain, especially those related to the soft tissues surrounding the joints.
- According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, India, an MRI has 92% to 100% specificity in screening bursitis.
- As per another study by the same organization, an MRI scan holds 82% to 93% specificity in detecting osteoarthritis.
- They also state that MRIs are nearly 89% accurate in locating and evaluating rheumatoid arthritis.
- Likewise, the European Journal of Molecular and Clinical Medicine notes that an MRI is about 100% sensitive and 77% specific in screening septic arthritis.
- A study by Science Direct shows that an MRI scan reserves about 90% accuracy in identifying and assessing tendinitis.
No doubt, an MRI scan can expose the hidden health problem that causes daily and severe joint pain and associated symptoms. The preparation is simple, and your healthcare providers will always guide you through! All you need to do is follow what they say.
For an MRI scan in Chandigarh to know the cause of your joint pain, go to www.mrichandigarh.com. Here, you can get an MRI-appointment booking on your own time and discounted price.