Magnetic resonance imaging emerges as vital resource in back pain treatment



The public ranks action on health care highly as part of efforts to stem the impact of the economic recession and also views reforming health care as one of the top priorities for President-elect Obama and Congress, according to a new national survey conducted by researchers from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School

Full Post: Healthcare among public’s top priorities for economic stimulus

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a growing technology providing an increasing number of clinical benefits when used in the evaluation of back pain according to an article in the January 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

It is predicted that over the next several years, additional technical developments will allow MRI to provide even more useful orthopaedic benefits.

Co-author Victor M. Haughton, MD, department of radiology, University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics says, “Because of the many different ways to gather this important information, MRI can be used to identify or display almost every type of spinal tissue or pathology. The imaging sequence can be modified to meet many different clinical needs.” Those include:

  • Back pain
  • Infection
  • Tumor
  • Trauma and vascular disease

Researchers continue to find new ways to apply technologies that were previously used exclusively on other areas of the body. MRI which is considered safe, fast and versatile is now being used in several spinal applications such as:

  • intervertebral disk and facet joint degeneration
  • spinal canal stenosis
  • vascular disorders
  • trauma

MRI scans are produced by stimulating the protons in tissues and liquids (such as fat, muscle, spinal cord, and fluid in the spine) using radiofrequency waves in the presence of a magnetic field. MRI detects the amount of energy emitted from these protons. This technology makes MRI well suited to evaluate spaces between spinal vertebrae, bone marrow, the spinal canal, and in soft tissues. Therefore MRI has been shown to be useful for almost every spinal pathology including; diseases of the spinal cord, nerve roots, vertebrae, disks and blood vessels. With MRI there is no radiation risk to the patient.

Computed tomography (CT) has also improved in resolution and scanning speed and is often the only imaging method available for patients with pacemakers, nerve stimulators, or those who suffer from claustrophobia. For these individuals, CT can provide structural information needed for diagnosis in many back pain cases. However, CT does include some exposure to radiation.

MRI although a very important technology, should never take the place of a thorough medical history and physical examination. Also, there are often structural findings or “abnormalities” on MRI that are not clinically relevant and not necessarily related to a patient’s symptoms. MRI findings must always correlate with the patient’s clinical picture.

“The possibilities of magnetic resonance have not yet been realized. It is a rapidly evolving field. When we need tools to identify a possible herniated disk, the simplest type of MR imaging or CT imaging can be used successfully. However, if you want to find out which disk is causing pain, which nerve is firing, which metabolites are present in abnormal amounts, or how well the spinal elements are functioning, MR will provide the answers,” adds Dr. Haughton.

http://www.aaos.org/

Link




A wide range of factors-including variables related to health care and job characteristics-affect the risk of long-term disability for workers with back injuries, reports a study in the December 1 issue of Spine. In combination, the risk factors can predict the risk of chronic disability after back injury, and may help in targeting workers for

Full Post: Risk factors for chronic disability after back injury



For patients with low back pain caused by a herniated disk, expectations of good results without surgery are the main factor affecting the preference for nonsurgical treatment, reports a study in the November 15 issue of Spine. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading provider

Full Post: Expectations drive patient preferences for treatment of spine problems



The novel design of a deep muscle along the spinal column called the multifidus muscle may in fact be key to spinal support and a healthy back, according to researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Their findings about the potentially important “scaffolding” role of this poorly understood muscle has been

Full Post: Multifidus muscle design contributes to spine stability



IMRIS Inc. has announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the Company’s 3 Tesla IMRISneuro for sale in the U.S. IMRISneuro is now available with either a 1.5 Tesla (1.5T) or a 3 Tesla (3T) magnet. Both systems provide IMRIS’ patented technology and utilize 70 cm wide bore advanced magnetic resonance

Full Post: IMRIS receives FDA clearance for 3 Tesla IMRISneuro



Historically, scientists have regarded itching as a less intense version of the body’s response to pain, but researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have determined that pain and itch actually are regulated by different molecular mechanisms. Today at Neuroscience 2008, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world’s

Full Post: Pain and itch regulated by different molecular mechanisms