When MRIs and CT Scans don’t explain the problem

Advanced imaging like MRI and CT are incredibly useful technologies but they may not always find or explain an individual’s problem

Often people assume when they get advanced imaging like MRI and CT scans that whatever issue they have will A.) Be discovered and B.) Some kind of solution will be suggested for the issue. After all, “This is the best imaging available, it MUST reveal something” or so the patient thinks. There is often confusion and disappointment when the imaging report says “Negative Study”, or in other words “everything is normal.”

Except everything ISN’T normal. The patient knows it because they are still suffering and since nothing was found on their imaging they start wondering if the pain is all in their head- as if they had some subconscious desire to fabricate the problem. Sometimes a patient’s doctor will even suggest the same thing since nothing was found on the study and they can’t find an explanation or they might attribute the problem to something like the aging process.

Desperate people have shown up in my office looking for answers after going through situations like this, and often after taking our own in-clinic xrays and videofluoroscopy (video motion xray) we are able to offer a different perspective and an explanation of their issues where no one previously could.

How is this possible?

Because medical MRIs, conventional xrays, and CT scans are searching for entirely different things than our own chiropractic xrays and videofluoroscopy. In other words the patient’s images are being looked at through an entirely different lens or a different perspective.

Medical imaging seeks to find specific ‘medical diagnoses’ for issues people are experiencing- things like broken bones, birth abnormalities, tumors, herniated discs, and pinched nerves.

Chiropractic imaging on the other hand seeks to identify more global structural and functional issues that are causing the problem. This approach takes into greater consideration how everything seen on an xray functions together harmoniously as a unit.

For example, lets say that the xrays below are of a person that is having chronic right hip pain. A medical radiologist may look at the xray below on the right and find nothing wrong with the hip- no pathology, no fractures, no arthritis, no abnormalities that the individual was born with, etc. As a chiropractor however I look at this xray I see a major problem- a noticable overall misalignment of the pelvis (dropping on the left as compared to the right) likely causing uneven weight distribution and wear and tear on the injured hip. (You can see the difference when compared to a normal balanced pelvis on the left).

This pelvic imbalance can cause the muscles surrounding the right hip and even the low back to spasm or be irritated as a result of trying to support this unnatural posture, and the person can even experiencing shooting pain into their thigh, foot, or leg as a result. A video motion xray of the low back would likely show a lack of ability to bend to the left as a result of this- translating the problem upward into the spine. The logical solution here is to realign the pelvis with chiropractic care in order to balance the pelvis and return normal function to the hip and allow the entire hip and pelvic complex to function together more harmoniously.

Another situation that arises is that an MRI or CT study DOES show an issue but there is no medical solution for it- like a small disc herniation, a pinched nerve, joint degeneration, or maybe arthritis for example. In such a case a patient may not get any good solutions from their doctor, and this is where chiropractic care can offer support in helping prevent the worsening of, or even correct the original underlying cause of the issue that is found with a conservative, effective, natural approach to healing.

If you or someone you know has been going through a similar situation there is still hope because there are still other ways of looking at the problem. Consider seeking out a chiropractor for another opinion. Contact Us today to learn how we can help.

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