X-rays are a type of radiation, and when they pass through the body, dense objects such as bone block the radiation and appear white on the X-ray film while less dense tissues appear gray and are difficult to see. X-rays are typically used to diagnose and assess bone degeneration or disease, fractures, dislocations, infections, or tumors. Organs and tissues within the body contain magnetic properties. MRI, or “magnetic resonance imaging,” combines a powerful magnet with radio waves (instead of X-rays) and a computer to manipulate these magnetic elements to create highly detailed images of structures in the body. Images are viewed as cross sections, or “slices,” of the body part being scanned. There is no radiation involved, unlike with X-rays. MRI scans are frequently used to diagnose bone and joint problems. A computed tomography (CT) scan (also known as a CAT scan) is similar to an MRI in the detail and quality of the image it produces, but the CT scan is actually a sophisticated, powerful X-ray that takes 360-degree pictures of internal organs, the spine, and vertebrae. By combining X-rays and a computer, a CT scan, like an MRI, produces cross-sectional views of the body part being scanned. In many cases, a contrast dye is injected into the blood to make the structures more visible. CT scans show the bones of the spine much better than MRI, so they are more useful in diagnosing conditions affecting the vertebrae and other bones of the spine.
In many cases, a contrast dye is injected into the blood to make the structures more visible. CT scans show the bones of the spine much better than MRI, so they are more useful in diagnosing conditions affecting the vertebrae and other bones of the spine.
X-rays are typically used to diagnose and assess bone degeneration or disease, fractures, dislocations, infections, or tumors. Organs and tissues within the body contain magnetic properties.
A tendon is a band of tissue that connects muscle to bone. A ligament is an elastic band of tissue that connects bone to bone and provides stability to the joint. Cartilage is a soft, gel-like padding between bones that protects joints and facilitates movement.
Cortisone is a steroid that is produced naturally in the body. Synthetically produced cortisone can also be injected into soft tissues and joints to help decrease inflammation. While cortisone is not a pain reliever, pain may diminish as a result of reduced inflammation. In orthopedics, cortisone injections are commonly used as a treatment for chronic conditions such as bursitis, tendonitis, and arthritis.
An epidural is a potent steroid injection that helps decrease the inflammation of compressed spinal nerves to relieve pain in the back, neck, arms, or legs. Cortisone is injected directly into the spinal canal for pain relief from conditions such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or radiculopathy. Some patients may need only one injection, but it usually takes two or three injections, given two weeks apart, to provide significant pain relief.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are non-prescription, over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium. They are popular treatments for muscular aches and pains, as well as arthritis. NSAIDs not only relieve pain but help to decrease inflammation, prevent blood clots, and reduce fevers as well. They work by blocking the actions of the cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme. There are two forms of the COX enzyme. COX-2 is produced when joints are injured or inflamed, which NSAIDS counteract. COX-1 protects the stomach lining from acids and digestive juices and helps the kidneys function properly. This is why side effects of NSAIDs may include nausea, upset stomach, ulcers, or improper kidney function.