ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

After Injury Why x-Ray vs. MRI?

Updated on August 8, 2011

Rehabilitation Resources

Be sure to experience all there is to see in life. Amazing Colors

Spring time blooms are the best.
Spring time blooms are the best. | Source

Why pushing for an MRI "at first" may not work

After one has an injury, soft tissue damage almost always occurs. Regardless of whether a fractured, broken bone or soft tissue damage; services to diagnose the injury is applied to determine a course of treatment. And a concern that should be understood by the patient: When should you have an x-Ray vs. an MRI?

It is most probable you’ll be referred for an x-Ray at first to diagnose the underlying damage of an injury area. Why is this non-intrusive viewing of your inners a gold standard? Because when you injure a joint or muscle area that is swollen, painful and/or discolored, the doctor wants to rule out fractures or other soft tissue anomalies.

If your pain is chronic at the joint, or muscle area and it never goes away surgery may be necessary. Surgery is always the last resort one should seek in order to resolve a soft “partial” tissue tear (muscle, tendon, and ligament). The doctor’s decision making process will follow a medical protocol to determine the extent of the injured area through diagnosis, treatment and follow up.

However, if the pain continues to be unbearable and you now aren’t participating in physical therapy, or have immobilized the area and/or exceeding your pain medication requirements, the next line of medical diagnoses will “now” likely follow.

At this point the primary doctor refers an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), or magnetic resonance tomography (MRT) to look at the soft tissue and next refers you to an orthopedic specialist. A point-of-interest many patients are not aware. An x-Ray mostly is interested in seeing the bone. And not all “partial, or worse” soft tissue tears (especially muscle and tendon) can be seen using this technology.

Let me provide a bit of advice for those familiar with MRI technology. Before you advocate for your MRI referral, be sure to try the treatment program your primary care physician prescribes. Why? Because you may have a soft tissue sprain (ligaments that hold bone together that are overstretched or torn) as opposed to a soft tissue strain (A muscle or tendon that become overstretched or torn). Sprain and strains can occur in any joint, or along any segment of bone. The most common soft tissue damage occurs in the back, shoulders, wrist, knee and ankles. You may be the “overstretched soft tissue” patient that can be rehabilitated without the use of costly MRI diagnosis services.

Doctor’s are not encouraged to send you for an MRI immediately after injury. Why? Well cost is a given, but this technology does not serve its full purpose until the swelling has gone down and sessions of physical therapy ensue. But there is a point of time passed… That one should self refer for an MRI through their primary physician, when swelling has gone down, therapy sessions are finished and pain is not alleviated. In other words, if you have not healed make a follow up appointment.

You should expect if you have overstretched soft tissue damage, it can take up to 6-8 weeks to heal correctly. But if you have gone for 3 months on a rehabilitative course and your pain management programming is not improving and if you’ve not had an MRI, suspect you may have a soft tissue partial tear, etc. And a soft tissue partial tear can completely tear. You want to avoid a full tear! Why? The only way to repair this is through surgery. Or you can choose to live through the pain and partial immobilization that will follow.

Don’t make yourself a surgery candidate unnecessarily. If you know you have a pain problem as the result of injury and well after physical therapy, self refer through your doctor for an MRI to look at the painful muscle, or joint area. Chances are the orthopedic specialist will see soft tissue damage that can be treated without surgery before a full tear occurs.

You then have an opportunity to expedite the healing process through the findings with a different approach to treatment. You’ll also, alleviate pain and minimize what might be otherwise a lifelong dependency on drugs and more severe pain. I’ve personally been successful in self referring to receive an MRI after the first 2-4 weeks of injury. As always, good health to you and your families!


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • woodamarc profile imageAUTHOR

      Marc Woodard 

      3 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Sorry for the long awaited reply. Been out of commission for awhile. Thanks for the kind words on the hub. Did you get the RSS drawback taken care of? Thanks for the kind words. And I'm happy you enjoyed the article. Good health to you and your family!

    • profile image

      Johne871 

      4 years ago

      Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thanks Nonetheless I am experiencing issue with ur rss . Dont know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting similar rss drawback? Anybody who is aware of kindly respond. Thnkx gkefgadddebd

    • woodamarc profile imageAUTHOR

      Marc Woodard 

      6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Thanks for the positive comments. It definitely helps to have knowledge of diagnosis equipment and its applicable use. In your example, found a tumor the size of a grapefruit. The MRI was the best piece of equipment to see it... Amazing.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 

      6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Excellent information! Everyone should learn the difference in what an X-ray can see and what an MRI can see. Some years ago my mother went through X-rays and a CT scan before I insisted on an MRI. The MRI found a tumor the size of a grapefruit that the other methods would never have found. If the previous treatments are not working...keep looking! Excellent information, voted up and useful! Thank you for sharing this information! :)

    • Matt Stark profile image

      Matt Stark 

      6 years ago from Albany, CA

      Good advice and very true an MRI is not always needed initially. Great suggestion on when one might be indicated. Up, useful, following.

    • woodamarc profile imageAUTHOR

      Marc Woodard 

      6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      I was in an MRI for 1.5hours. Talk about a very lonely experience. It's good they gave me ear plugs... Your right, very noisy.

    • profile image

      Garnetbird 

      6 years ago

      Good, well-written Hub--I had an MRI and it was so distressing they had to give me valium beforehand..it's a very noisy machine. {It bangs)

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)