Pain Relief Diagnoses
It can be extremely difficult to discern the difference between regular pain and chronic pain. The Pain Relief Center’s advanced diagnostic technologies have the capabilities you need to regain control of your pain treatment. Let us help you if you are in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Plano and Frisco, Texas area.
CT or CAT scan
Computed tomography (CT) or computed axial tomography (CAT) scans use X-rays and computers to produce an image of a cross-section of the body. During the test, you will be asked to lie as still as possible on a table. The table will move through a large, donut-shaped scanning device. Sometimes, an intravenous (injected into a vein) contrast material is required for a CAT scan. In such cases, you may have a blood test before the CAT scan appointment. Most CAT scan procedures take 15-60 minutes.
Magnetic resonance imaging produces very clear pictures of the body without the use of X-rays. This test uses a large magnet, radio waves and a computer to produce images. In most cases, an MRI takes 40 to 80 minutes, during which time several dozen images may be obtained. Certain MRI exams require an injection of a contrast material called gadolinium, which helps identify certain anatomic structures on the scan images. Due to the magnets used in the study, some people (like those who have pacemakers) should not have an MRI.
During discography a contrast dye is injected into the spinal disc that is thought to be causing back pain. The dye outlines the damaged areas on X-rays taken following injection. This procedure may be suggested for people who are considering surgery or IDET (intradiscal electrothermal treatment).
As in discography, during the myelogram procedure, a contrast dye will be injected into the spinal canal to enhance the diagnostic ability of X-ray. Doctors are able to see on X-ray the image of the spinal cord and can identify nerve compression caused by herniated discs or fractures.
This procedure allows doctors to evaluate the activity of the muscles. During the procedure, very fine needles are inserted in muscles to measure the muscles response to signals from the brain or spinal cord.
Bone scans are used to diagnose and monitor infection, fracture, or other disorders in the bone. During a bone scan, a small amount of radioactive material is injected into the bloodstream. The material will collect in the bones, particularly in areas with any abnormality. Scanner-generated images are sent to a computer to identify specific areas of irregular bone metabolism or abnormal blood flow.
Also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, this test uses high-frequency sound waves to obtain images inside the body. The sound wave echoes are recorded and displayed as a real-time visual image.
RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy)
There is no specific diagnostic test for CRPS, but some testing can rule out other conditions. Triple-phase bone scans can be used to identify changes in the bone and in blood circulation. Some health care providers may apply a stimulus (for example, heat, touch, cold) to determine whether there is pain in a specific area. Making a firm diagnosis of CRPS may be difficult early in the course of the disorder when symptoms are few or mild. CRPS is diagnosed primarily through observation of the following symptoms:
- The presence of an initial injury
- A higher-than-expected amount of pain from an injury
- A change in appearance of an affected area
- No other cause of pain or altered appearance
X-rays of the affected joints can suggest osteoarthritis. The common X-ray findings of osteoarthritis include loss of joint cartilage, narrowing of the joint space between adjacent bones, and bone spur formation. Simple X-ray testing can be very helpful to exclude other causes of pain in a particular joint as well as assist the decision-making as to when surgical intervention Arthrocentesis is often performed in the doctor’s office. During arthrocentesis, a sterile needle is used to remove joint fluid for analysis. Joint fluid analysis is useful in excluding gout, infection, and other causes of inflammatory arthritis. Removal of joint fluid and injection of corticosteroids into the joints during arthrocentesis may help relieve pain, swelling, and inflammation. Arthroscopy is a surgical technique whereby a doctor inserts a viewing tube into the joint space. Abnormalities of and damage to the cartilage and ligaments can be detected and sometimes repaired through the arthroscope. If successful, patients can recover from the arthroscopic surgery much more quickly than from open joint surgery. Finally, a careful analysis of the location, duration, and character of the joint symptoms and the appearance of the joints helps the doctor in diagnosing osteoarthritis. Bony enlargement of the joints from spur formations is characteristic of osteoarthritis. Therefore, Heberden’s nodes, Bouchard’s nodes, and bunions of the feet can help the doctor make a diagnosis of osteoarthritis.
Your doctor will often make a diagnosis after doing a physical exam and discussing your symptoms with you. The reason for this is that a diagnosis to large extent is based on the way you feel. For instance, even though your doctor may notice tender points during the physical exam, you still need to tell him or her about the pain you feel in those areas. Your doctor will use a few lab tests to make sure you don’t have a more serious medical condition. These tests can probably be done during one visit to a lab. Among the specific blood tests that your doctor may order is a complete blood count (CBC). This test measures the hemoglobin, red cells, white cells, and platelets. It can also find many common blood disorders — such as anemia – that can cause fatigue.Your doctor may ask for tests — including kidney and liver tests — that check blood chemistries. Your doctor will probably want to know the level of cholesterol and other fats in your blood, calcium levels, and more. In addition, your doctor may run thyroid tests to see if your thyroid is overactive or underactive.
Your doctor will diagnose bursitis based on your symptoms and findings on a physical exam. Some diagnostic tests may be performed to rule out other causes of your pain. These include the following:
- An X-ray of the affected area to look for bony spurs (abnormal areas) or arthritis
- Aspiration, in which fluid is taken from the swollen bursa and evaluated under a microscope, to rule out gout or infection
- Blood tests to screen for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes
- Magnetic resonance imaging test (MRI), although this is rare
Knee pain can be a result of injury or disease of the knee joint. Injury can affect any of the ligaments, bursae, or tendons surrounding the knee joint. Injury can also affect the ligaments, cartilage, menisci (plural for meniscus), and bones within the joint. The complexity of the design of the knee joint and the fact that it is an active weight-bearing joint are factors in making the knee one of the most commonly injured joints. Pain can also occur in the knee from diseases or conditions that involve the knee joint, the soft tissues and bones surrounding the knee, or the nerves that supply sensation to the knee area. In fact, the knee joint is the most commonly involved joint in rheumatic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, reactive arthritis,systemic lupus erythematosus, as well as osteoarthritis. Diseases that cause knee pain can lead to swelling, redness, warmth, weakness, instability, tenderness, and stiffness of the joint. Many of the symptoms of knee pain can be a result of an excess of fluid forming in the joint. Patients may experience the related symptoms of Joint Pain, Leg Swelling, and/or Muscle Cramps.
Your doctor will diagnose a migraine by examining you and asking questions about your health and lifestyle. There are no tests that can prove that you have migraines. Migraines can be hard to diagnose, because their symptoms are like those of other types of headaches. For example, many people have been diagnosed with sinus headaches when they actually have migraines. It’s likely that you are having migraine headaches if they happen often and interfere with your daily life.