When people think of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, they may assume it is used strictly to diagnose serious diseases.
But one of the main uses of MRI is to locate and examine the presence of osteoarthritis, which affects roughly 27 million Americans and is the most common form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by the degeneration of cartilage (the protective tissue between the bones) within one or more joints, which may include the discs of the spinal column. Osteoarthritis is especially common among people ages 45 and older, but can occur as early as one’s 20s. In fact, more than 12% of Americans over age 25 have some degree of osteoarthritis due to injury and/or overuse. Obviously, the older one gets, the greater the wear and tear on the joints. Once cartilage breaks down, it can cause bones to grind against one another and promote bone spurs, which are excess bone growths that form along the edges of bones and spinal discs. Spurs can impede normal joint movement and press on nerves, creating pain and diminished mobility, and sometimes refer pain, tingling or numbness into the head and limbs.
Knowing the specific properties and source of osteoarthritis is the key to devising a customized treatment plan for long-term relief. That’s why MRI is such an effective tool. MRI’s capacity to capture detailed views of joints, ligaments and other parts of the musculoskeletal system make it an ideal test to locate, diagnose and assess the severity of osteoarthritis. MRI can determine where cartilage is worn away, see if bone spurs are present, and highlight disc problems that may be impinging nerves.
MRI creates comprehensive images of bones, joints and other tissues using a combination of radio waves and magnetic fields, so it is free of ionizing radiation. Once the images are captured and transferred to a sophisticated computer software system, your Board Certified RAO radiologist, a subspecialist in musculoskeletal diagnostics, can assess your specific problem and work directly with your referring clinician to confirm a diagnosis and help devise the right treatment plan for you.
RAO offers state-of-the-art MRI at our Medical Imaging Center and Medical Imaging Center at Windsor Oaks. At our TimberRidge Imaging Center, we offer high performance Open MRI, which features a spacious chamber with open sides for people who may need more room or are inclined to feel claustrophobic.
Determining the cause and location of osteoarthritis can initiate effective treatment for pain, inflammation, stiffness and immobility. So don’t suffer another day – talk to your medical care practitioner about whether MRI might help provide a way back to the activities that support your health and encourage a life of fun, exploration and adventure.
Radiology Associates of Ocala