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Different Types of MRIs and What They Look For
Apr 29, 2021

Different Types of MRIs and What They Look ForIf you have been struggling with back or neck pain from an old injury or illness, your chiropractor may recommend an MRI scan to get a clearer understanding of how your body has been affected. An MRI stands for “magnetic resonance imaging” and provides highly detailed images of your internal structures including bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues.

If you need a chiropractor immediately after a car accident but don’t know how to pick.  You want to pick one that gets full diagnostic imaging before performing any adjustments or they could make you worse.   Our chiropractors may request an MRI scan to provide more information for the most accurate diagnosis and to better inform a treatment plan that works best for you. While chiropractors are known for their treatment of spine and back pain, they can actually provide natural, minimally invasive treatment for a wide variety of musculoskeletal issues. An MRI may provide greater clarity in what internal structures may be affected by your injury or illness.

Three Types of Common MRI Scans

An MRI uses magnetic and radio waves to take detailed pictures of your body for greater clarity on how your body has been impacted. Unlike X-rays or CT scans, you do not need to worry about radiation exposure with this type of scan. Here are three types of common MRI scans and what they look for:

Cardiac MRI

Your doctor may request a cardiac MRI to view how your heart structure and blood vessels may have any damage or blockages. If you have suffered a heart attack then a cardiac MRI can help provide a clearer understanding of how your entire circulatory system has been affected. A cardiac MRI can also help your doctor look for inflammation in heart tissue, tumors, problems with heart valves or the heart’s chambers and prevent heart disease.

Functional MRI

Your doctor may schedule a functional MRI to gauge the blood flow to your brain and assess the activity in your brain. A functional MRI will highlight areas of your brain and when they are activated by certain thoughts or tasks. A functional MRI is commonly used to assess brain injury and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Musculoskeletal MRI

Your doctor may recommend a musculoskeletal MRI to assess a variety of injuries and illnesses that impact your musculoskeletal system. Chiropractors commonly treat spinal and disc issues, along with back and neck pain. Car accident injuries may also cause damage and injury to a combination of soft tissues that an MRI can best detect. A musculoskeletal MRI can provide detailed pictures of disc degeneration, dislocations, and fractures.

Other types of MRI scans include screenings for breast cancer, assessing the size and growth of tumors, and monitoring cancer growth before and after treatment. MRI scans can also be used to diagnose issues with other organs like the liver, kidneys, pancreas, and spleen.

The Differences Between Open and Closed MRIs

When your doctor recommends an MRI scan, you might experience some anxiety or stress about the experience. When you undergo an MRI, you will lay on a table that is inserted into the MRI machine. In the past, traditional closed MRI machines were the only option and they could make some people feel uncomfortable or claustrophobic. Technological advances have significantly improved the experience of an MRI scan, including the option of an open scan.

An open MRI scan may be recommended for people who suffer from serious claustrophobia or if their size makes it uncomfortable or impossible to undergo a traditional, closed MRI scan. If you undergo an open MRI scan, the shape may be more comfortable for some people. However, the closed MRI is more accurate and is sometimes the only option for certain areas of the body.

Reasons for an MRI with Contrast

There are some cases where your doctor may request an MRI scan with contrast. This involves an injectable dye that may help your doctor to better evaluate certain health conditions. An MRI with contrast can help improve the diagnostic images that provide greater detail in the images of soft tissues and internal organs. MRI scans with contrast are common for identifying tumors, cysts, or a suspicious mass.

At AICA Orthopedics in Conyers, our team of chiropractors, orthopedic doctors, neurologists, and physical therapists work together to provide you with the most accurate diagnosis and an individualized treatment plan that works best for you. We also offer diagnostic imaging tests like MRI scans in-house, so you can meet with your doctor and get an MRI all in one convenient location.