Are you one of the millions of Americans who will undergo an MRI, CT Scan, or other scan for your back or neck pain this year? Avoid getting the wrong type of scan, receiving an inaccurate diagnosis (it’s more common than you think), or experiencing overly aggressive treatment by following these ten tips.
Before your scan:
- Protect yourself from unnecessary radiation, testing costs, and anxiety by asking your physician why he or she is recommending the scan. Ask specifically how the results of the scan might influence your treatment decisions one way or another. If in doubt about the recommendation, consider getting a second opinion.
- See MRI Scan of the Spine
- See Indications and Contraindications for an MRI Scan
- For a discussion of how MRIs for the spine work and when a contrast agent is needed How MRI Scans Work
After your scan:
- Sometimes a scan will show a problem that is completely unrelated to your clinical findings. If there is any question, make sure you understand the inconsistencies. You may need another type of test or follow up. Or, the anatomical findings on the scan may have nothing to do with your pain. For example, many people have bulging or herniated discs but have no pain or other symptoms.
- See Do I Need an MRI Scan?
It may feel uncomfortable to take charge and be your own patient advocate, but by asking a few questions and staying actively involved in your own health care, you can increase your chance of having positive outcomes.