3 Reasons to Consider an Open MRI for Back Pain

Affecting about 80 percent of the population at one time or another, back pain is a common reason to see a doctor. Oftentimes, the process of figuring out what’s causing spine-related discomfort involves image tests that may include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). While there is some concern in the medical community about over-relying on MRIs, there are some instances – like the ones discussed below – when an open MRI may play a significant role in fine-tuning treatment recommendations.

Conservative Treatments Haven’t Worked for 4-6 Weeks

Most instances of back pain will respond well to conservative (non-surgical) treatment within 4-6 weeks from the time symptoms become noticeable. However, if medication, therapeutic exercise, hot and cold therapy, and various forms of PT aren’t effective beyond this point, it typically becomes increasingly likely that there’s a structural issue involved. An MRI produces the detailed bone and soft tissue images needed to determine if this may be the case.

A Specific Problem Other Than Sprain/Strain Is Suspected

An MRI isn’t likely to be ordered if the suspected caused of back pain is strained muscles and tendons or sprained ligaments. But if a specific structural problem, like a herniated disc, compressed nerve, or an abnormally narrow part of the spine, is believed to be the source of a patient’s symptoms, an MRI may confirm whether or not this is the case. An MRI can also be an important diagnostic tool if symptoms experienced may have more than one possible source. For instance, sciatica-like pain is sometimes caused by irritation of the nearby piriformis muscle.

New or Returning Symptoms Are Experienced After Surgery

While every effort is made to achieve a proper diagnosis prior to recommending spine surgery, there are times when symptoms might remain or return after a reasonable recovery period. An MRI is one of the tests that’s often done when this is the case. The results may either identify a previously undetected source of back pain or show an entirely new source of pain. With fusion surgery, for example, other parts of the spine sometimes become unstable enough post-surgery to trigger new symptoms.

MRIs, in general, are considered safer than the X-rays and CT scans that are also routinely performed on back pain sufferers because there is no radiation exposure to worry about. What makes an open MRI appealing is the way it’s performed. Patients with a fear of being in a confined space often feel more at ease when an open MRI is performed. Plus, the information shown in the results is just as detailed as what’s produced by a traditional MRI scan.

How to Stay Up-to-Date in the Industry When You’re a Dentist

When you decided to be a dentist, you probably decided that you wanted to do everything that you could to help people. On a daily basis, you might help people overcome their fears of having dental work done, and you might help people gain beautiful smiles that they never thought they could have. Even though you might do all of these things, you could be wondering if there are other things that you can do that can help you be an even better dental care professional. Staying up-to-date with what is going on in the industry is one good way of doing so, and these tips can help you do just that, even if you have a busy schedule as a dentist.

Go Back to School

You might be required to attend continuing education classes from time to time in order to maintain your license as a dentist in your state. Beyond these classes, though, consider taking other courses from time to time. These classes can be a great challenge and can help you keep your education completely up to date, which can help you be a better dentist.

Read Magazines and Journals About Dentistry

From an implant dentistry magazine to other magazines and journals about various aspects of the dental care community, there are a ton of traditional publications out there that can help you stay abreast of what is going on in the dental care industry. Many of these publications are very interesting to read, too. Also, some of them can be accessed online, which is probably a lot more convenient for you when you have a busy schedule as a dentist.

Attend Industry Events

There are often conferences and other events out there that are catered toward those in the dental care industry. If you usual make up excuses to skip these events, consider going next time. You might have fun and meet others in the industry, and you can learn a lot, too.

Keeping your education and skills sharp is important as a dentist. If you’re concerned about not being up-to-date enough on what is going on in the dental care industry, making a few simple changes can really help.… Read More