Shields Health Care Group Blog
Back pain and neck pain is a common complaint, especially among women. These aches can be attributed to menstrual cycles, stress, lifting children and even computer use. As women age they may suffer from back pain due to past injuries, poor posture or arthritis pain - let's face it, we're more active now in later years than past generations!
So your doctor has recommended an MRI for your neck and back pain - what next?
Why an MRI for my back pain and neck pain?
If you are experiencing neck pain or back pain, your doctor may recommend that you have an MRI of your cervical spine, which is located at the top of your spine. An MRI is often recommend for ongoing pain because it can provide more detailed images than other imaging techniques (x-ray, CT) and is better at detecting abnormalities of the spinal cord, small discs, nerves and tissue. The MRI of the cervical spine also shows parts of the lower brain including the cerebellum for evaluation.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can be a very helpful tool at diagnosing many problems ranging from orthopedic to neurological to breast. However, as a patient, you want to be sure that the MRI is necessary and helpful to your situation. The opposite may also be true; your doctor may not order an MRI and you feel they should. As patients become more responsible for their health care, asking your doctor these three questions can help make you feel comfortable with the recommendations made for your care.
Here are some helpful tips that may help back pain:
- Focus on your posture.The head is a very heavy object, weighing 10 to 12 pounds and the back and neck muscles must work much harder if it is tilted forward.
- Strengthen the upper back muscles. Any variety of row and pull exercise will work the upper back muscles.
- Move your shoulders often. Elbow curls and arm circle exercises will help reposition the shoulders. Make sure to breathe deeply and keep the movements slow.
- Stretch regularly. If you don't stretch properly after physical activity, the muscle never gets elongated to its natural length and over time will adapt and become short.
- See a professional.If your back pain is chronic, you may want to consider seeking professional help. If your pain is preventing you from completing daily tasks, a doctor visit might be in order.
What about an MRI for my back pain and neck pain?
MRI scans are extremely sensitive to picking up information about your back and your doctor may recommend that you have an MRI of your cervical spine, which is located at the top of your spine. Often, doctors prescribe an MRI scan to more fully investigate earlier findings of other imaging techniques.
Dr. Stephen Sweriduk, Medical Director of Shields Health Care Group, says “We do a lot of MRIs of the cervical spine for patients who have neck pain or they have neck pain that is radiating down their arms. We also do a fair amount of MRIs of the cervical spine for patients who suffer from myolapothy which is weakness in your legs and lower extremities or some changes in bowel or bladder function.”
MRIs can be an expensive procedure, but an important one if recommended by your doctor. Remember, you can tell your doctor where you want to get your MRI. Shields has more than 25 locations throughout Massachusetts, provides the latest technology and could save you thousands compared to higher priced hospitals.
It’s your money, it’s your health and it’s your choice. Tell your doctor that you choose Shields MRI. For a more information including a list of Shields locations go to shields.com.
source: self.com, active.com, shields.com