Should I get an MRI?

One of the more common questions and concerns of our patients is when they should have an MRI. Some patients have been suffering with ongoing neck pain and some have sudden onset. Some have neck pain that radiates into the shoulders or arms and some have headaches along with neck pain.

 Here is a list of symptoms that are commonly associated with neck pain:

  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Arm, Elbow and Hand Pain
  • Numbness in the arms and hands
  • Tingling
  • Weakness of grip
  • Night pain
  • Burning
  • Headaches

Some patients have only neck pain, some have all the symptoms listed above, and everything in between.

So what causes neck pain? Here is a partial list:

  • Herniated or Bulging disc in the neck
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Vertebral Subluxation
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Facet Syndrome
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Forward Head Posture
  • Arthritis

Depending on the nature and severity of the underlying cause of your neck pain, you may or may not need an MRI. MRI’s are expensive and are not always needed when it comes to directing the proper course of treatment. Some chiropractors and medical doctors take routine x-rays and they may not be indicated either.

Typically…as long as there are no “red flags” we will initiate treatment, which consists of gentle spinal adjustments and low tech exercises for neck pain and associated disorders.  Patients normally respond within a very short period of time.

If a patient does not respond after say 2-4 weeks of chiropractic care, we will consider an MRI of the neck to further identify the problem.  If the MRI reveals a disc herniation or bulge, then we can expect the treatment to take longer. We can also consider non-surgical spinal decompression with the DRX-9000c.

Cervical decompression machines are designed and built to reduce disc bulges and herniations naturally. They are very safe and gentle.

We also have supportive therapies such as deep tissue laser and Active Release Techniques (ART) to assist with difficult-to-treat cases.

We have two San Francisco clinics within walking distance of each other. Our primary clinic has a team of medical doctors, physical therapists, and chiropractors to serve you.

Bottom Line: If you have neck, arm, or hand  pain and feel you may need an MRI or might have a herniated disc in the neck, we would like to meet with you to discussy your treatment options.

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