Sports Injuries On The Rise: Protect Your Athletes

Sports injuries are specific injuries sustained during competitive athletics or other exercise, usually affecting the musculoskeletal system or the muscles, bones, ligaments and/or  cartilage. Head injuries often occur while engaged in contact sports like football. Proper training, protective equipment and other precautions can often prevent sports injuries.

Still, even the most careful athletes can suffer an unexpected injury, especially those who play contact and team sports. With Fall sports season ramping up, Doctors Imaging wants to stress the importance regarding your radiologist’s role in diagnosis and treatment of your athlete’s sports injury.

To accurately diagnose your injury or condition, your physician may suggest an X-ray, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) ,Computed Tomography (CT) or ultrasound to provide images of the affected area.

·  X-rays are often used for diagnosing fractures.

·  MRIs are useful in diagnosing injuries to the ligaments, tendons and other tissues.

·  CT scans are used less frequently in sports medicine but can be helpful for more complex orthopedic issues.

·  Ultrasound provides great detail in evaluating the soft tissues around joints, tendons and muscles and is often used for image-guided procedures such as anesthetic injections.

·  MRI with special techniques like 3T SWI is used to look in detail for subtle contact head injuries that occur during football, soccer etc.

In April 2016, researchers presented a study on the long-term risks of playing football. It found that more than 40% of retired National Football League players examined showed signs of traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is often a precursor to a degenerative brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The rate of TBI found in the retired football players is “significantly higher” than that of the general population, according to Dr. Francis Conidi, one of the study’s authors. “This is one of the largest studies to date in living retired NFL players and one of the first to demonstrate significant objective evidence for traumatic brain injury in these former players,” Conidi said.

In 2017, the journal Radiology published a study that found football players sustain concussions that may carry a long term impact on their brain health. This study, funded in part by the NFL and NFL Players Association, showed that a player’s position and career duration play a part in their concussion history. The resulting effects on the brain’s white matter structure may lead to the onset of traumatic neurodegenerative disease. These effects have been suggested in the past, but researchers are now better able to evaluate brain function using qDTI-MRI Imaging.

Doctors Imaging uses the latest technology to offer the highest level of imaging available at the most affordable price.Learn more about our imaging services, or schedule an imaging exam by calling 504-883-8111.

Learn more from CNN’s Dr. Sonjay Gupta:

Should I Get an X-Ray, MRI, or CT Scan for My Injury?

Every patient is different as well as every injury. The way people injure themselves, the condition of the affected area prior to the injury, as well as the patient’s response to injury, are all factors in assessing the damage as well as creating a plan for the restoration of the area. If you have obtained an injury you feel you can’t care for on your own, you should speak to your doctor about scheduling a procedure that will be best able to determine the extent of the damage and after you and your physician can discuss plans to heal and avoid further injury. Here is a list of common medical procedures that your doctor may schedule for you in order to determine the degree of injury.

An X-Ray


An X-Ray is usually the first procedure a doctor will schedule for an injury, particularly sports-related injuries. X-rays are some of the oldest and most used forms of medical imaging. X-rays are common procedures for joint and bone fractures and breaks. X-rays are also used for examining arthritic joints and determining the location and condition of cancer cells in the bones. X-ray procedures are totally painless and just require the patient to lay very still for the length of the imaging as the slightest involuntary movement can distort the image and the procedure will have to be restarted. Getting an X-ray will be the fastest way to determine if there has been a bone break, dislocation or fracture.

An MRI Scan

Your doctor may also order an MRI scan if the injury cannot be properly determined from an X-ray or if your injury pertains to any of the joint, muscular or skeletal systems of the body. An MRI scan would be particularly helpful if your injury has caused any type of vascular problem such as internal bleeding or clotting or if there is soft tissue damage. MRI scans are useful in determining any overall damage from an injury beyond what an X-ray can relate. MRI scans contain a minute amount of pain from an intravenous injection of contrast material but nothing further. Contrast material will not have a reaction in the body excluding a slightly cool sensation unless the patient has an allergy to iodine.

A CT Scan

Your doctor may also order a CT scan for an injury. Do not be confused if your doctor orders a few tests for you. It does not necessarily indicate an extreme amount of physical damage. Your doctor could just be trying to get the best angles and images in order to make the most thorough diagnosis and by extension the best medical plan for mending your injury. Your doctor may order you a CT scan if he is particularly worried about tissue damage. CT scans using contrast material are able to create cross-sectional images of organs and tissues as well as highlighting which are healthy and which are not. CT scans are relatively painless as well, excluding the pinprick of the IV needle, but in some cases, the contrast material is swallowed to outline the digestive system.

Make the Choice

If you have an injury that cannot be helped by over the counter medications and naturalistic healing methods, you should speak to your doctor about ordering some of these procedures because a serious injury left unattended can become a much more harmful problem. Without proper medical attention and testing, a slight injury can morph into a complex affliction. Even with injuries that feel minimal in pain should be examined by a doctor in order to avoid further complications and injury to the area. The advances in medical technology have provided us with the tools and resources to make better choices concerning patient experience and healing.

Making a decision today? Just click here to schedule your medical imaging appointment in New Orleans.

What to do if Your Child Swallowed an Object

Any parent will tell you that children do not come with instruction manuals. They are curious, messy and sometimes the only way they learn to not do something, is to do it. That is why so often, 911 dispatchers and pediatricians get that frantic call from a parent that their child has swallowed something. If you are the parent of a child, there are a few steps that need to be followed.

1. Make Sure They Aren’t Choking

Sometimes when kids swallow things, it can end up in their stomach or in their windpipe. If the child is coughing, grabbing at their throat or having difficulty breathing, that tiny piece might be caught in their windpipe. Only try to grab the object if you can clearly see it in the throat, otherwise, you may push it further into the windpipe. If they are showing that they are choking or are overwhelmed, give them the Heimlich Maneuver.

2. Try to Determine What the Object Was

We understand, you turned your back for one second and that is all it took for your child to ingest something they weren’t suppose to. Not only are children curious, but they are also quick. For younger children, using the mouth as an exploratory instrument is pretty standard. See if there are missing pieces and parts around where the child was playing. If it was toxic, like household chemicals or batteries, call your local poison control center. Seek medical attention for sharp, metallic or unknown objects that the child may have ingested.

3. Speak to Your Doctor about Ultrasound or X-ray

Typically speaking, if a child swallows something like coins or toy pieces, they usually pass them on their own. However, sharp objects can sometimes cause painful tearing or bowel movements. That is why Doctors Imaging recommends having your child undergo proper medical imaging procedures in order to determine the condition of internal organs after foreign-body ingestion.

For most children and their parents, swallowing something unintentionally can be a scary moment. That is why medical imaging procedures can be more difficult. Scared children are commonly difficult to maneuver. However, most doctors will recommend having X-rays performed in order to track the foreign object. Not all objects will show up on an X-ray. Ultrasounds are easier to perform because they do not require the child to be separated from parents and does not expose them to radiation. However, X-rays are really the only fool-proof method available to track a swallowed object if it has material that is visible and even if not visible may show some changes in the airway or in the lungs; and if in the digestive system, may help to make sure it does as little damage as possible on its way out of the body. For those parents concerned about radiation exposure, some imaging facilities such as Doctors Imaging, utilize digital X-rays which use the least possible radiation and provide even clearer images.

In an emergency, call 911. When you’re ready for your next medical imaging appointment, please call Doctors Imaging at 504-883-8111 or simply request your appointment online.

How Does a Head Injury Result in Sensory Loss?

Whenever accidents or injuries occur, there is always a concern for the residual effects. Prospects of surgery, rehabilitation, or discomfort are never welcome. But for many people, the problems that come after a traumatic injury can be even more debilitating. Ask any physician and they will readily tell you that the worse kind of injuries to treat are those that affect the head. Because the brain is such a complex and unpredictable organ, the effects and ramifications of injuries to the brain can be difficult to determine or map with consistency.

There are a number of factors that help doctors determine the extent and condition of the brain after an injury occurs including:

  • the severity of the injury
  • the location of the injury
  • the medical response to the injury (response time / procedures / medicines)
  • the rate of recovery

There are five senses and each can have different effects after a traumatic brain injury occurs. Sight, taste, smell, hearing, and touch are the ways that our brain receives information and then interprets that information for us to use. But when the brain is the injured body part, any one of these senses can be impacted.

Sometimes the direct impact is not even needed to create an injury. Sometimes just the shaking or rattling of the brain inside the skull can be enough to cause damage. When this occurs, the brain can begin to swell or bleed. Because of the limited area within the cranial cavity, the brain has no space to relieve the pressure or release the blood and as such, damage ensues — or worse, death occurs.

Types & Causes of Sensory Loss After Brain Injury

To begin, the brain is divided into different sections. The different sections control different functions of the body and interpret different signals so certain injuries will exhibit themselves in different parts of the brain. The parietal lobe, located at the top of the head, is the part of the brain that interprets sensational signals and tells us where our body is in location to different objects in our surroundings. Injury to this area can be the cause of a sensory loss, particularly in terms of our translation of touch.

Let’s take a closer look at the types and causes of sensory loss that can happen after a brain injury.

  1. Loss of sight or disruption of sight is a common side effect of a traumatic brain injury. The occipital lobe, located at the back of the skull, is the part of the brain that controls one’s ability to see. When the occipital lobe is damaged, effects such as eye muscle weakness or double vision can occur known as diplopia. The sudden inability to optically tolerate light is a common occurrence known as photophobia. Other presentations of an occipital lobe injury include involuntary eye movements (nystagmus) or the loss of vision in one eye (hemianopsia). The loss of sight differs from other senses in that there is a slightly larger possibility of it returning as opposed to hearing or smell that are usually permanent injuries.
  2. Hearing problems are another sensory problem that often occurs after an accident or fall. Sometimes normal daily activities can sound unbearably loud. Other common symptoms of brain damage are the inability to filter or recognize sounds or prolonged ringing in the ears, a condition called tinnitus. Luckily with the advancement of technology, devices such as cochlear implants and hearing aids can help those who are dealing with hearing problems.
  3. Smell and taste are two senses that heavily influence each other. Almost 70% of taste is contributed to smell and the smell is the strongest sense in connection with our memories. So when one becomes damaged, the other usually suffers as well. Usually, if there is a frontal lobe injury, the resulting nerve damage can contribute to a loss of taste. The olfactory bulbs lie beneath the frontal lobe and can be the cause of anosmia (or loss of smell) if injured.

For those that do experience a loss of one of their senses, options such as surgery, physical therapy, and counseling should be considered in order to help combat the problem or learning to adjust to life without that sense. If you or someone you know has experienced a serious injury and is complaining of sensory disruption of loss, please seek medical supervision immediately.

The physician may order an MRI in order to determine if there is bleeding in or around the brain. Newer MRI techniques are now being developed to evaluate traumatic brain injuries. DTI is an advanced brain imaging procedure that can measure the extent of a brain injury when other tests are negative and symptoms persist. Learn more about these exams at theconcussiongroup.com.

If you have other questions about sensory loss, brain injuries or medical imaging procedures, speak to your physician or radiologist about scheduling a consultation. For more help, call 504-883-8111.

Car Accident Head Injuries, Safety and Precautions

Car accidents can be some of the scariest moments of one’s life. Despite the innovations and advances in automobile safety technology, human error is still hard to beat. About 20 percent of all reported head injuries are the result of an automobile accidents. Buckling seatbelts is a major preventative measure that everyone should apply when riding in a car. However, car accident head injuries can still come from steering wheel collisions, airbag deployment as well as window, windshield and debris injury.

Head injuries can vary in the degree of seriousness. Some people walk away with a bump on the head often referred to as a contusion, others suffer from conditions like concussions, and some have more traumatic brain injuries such as memory loss. In the event of a car accident, having the proper body and brain imaging can be a major protective measure against the progression of the injury.

At Doctors Imaging, we have lots of experience helping those who have suffered from car accident head injuries. Whether it is our digital X-ray capabilities for broken bones or more advanced exams to determine the extent of brain injury, at Doctors Imaging we are committed to providing high-quality imaging services for the greater New Orleans area.

Our most detailed exam for brain injuries is diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Because car accident head injuries are so common, we are proud to be offering this service to the Gulf South region because of the numerous benefits it provides. Diffusion tensor imaging is an advanced form of MRI that traces the movement of water and hydrogen atoms in the nerve pathways of the brain.

A DTI exam measures brain injuries that are not seen on MRI and CT scans performed elsewhere.

Conventional MRI scans are the best for determining internal or soft tissue damage in the body. However, CT scans and MRI are not adequate for tracing the nerve pathways in the white matter of the brain and highlighting otherwise unseen brain injuries. DTI goes further than a conventional brain scan. Water molecules follow a certain pattern in the brain along the nerve pathways. When you can see that the path has been disrupted, physicians know to look further into this area to find possible injury. Because head injuries can appear non-threatening, they can develop into more serious conditions in the weeks and months after the accident.

DTI is especially useful for patients who have suffered a concussion. Some concussions can heal in a few days while others can leave more lasting injuries. The only way that diffusion tensor imaging can be performed is with a 3.0 Tesla MRI and special software capabilities. Doctors Imaging is the only facility in the Gulf South. For this reason, we see patients from all over the region who are looking to determine the extent of their sport, work injuries and car accident head injuries.

If you have more questions about head injuries, diffusion tensor imaging or other injuries that require imaging, please contact Doctors Imaging at 504-833-8111 or visit the website of The Concussion Group for more information. If you would like to set up an appointment for imaging, you can use our Request Appointment page any time.

Do You Have Concussion Symptoms?

Concussions (Mild Traumatic Brain Injury or mTBI) have long been a mysterious and worrying injury for doctors to examine. Concussion symptoms can range anywhere from unconsciousness to memory loss to a slight headache. There is such a range of symptoms that it can be a difficult task for physicians to medically diagnose a concussion.

Most head injuries are minor — bumps, headaches or the occasional fall. These types of injuries happen with few repercussions. When they’re not, though, they can lead to serious short-term and long-term problems, including dizziness, headache, memory loss and slurred speech, to name a few.

Sometimes concussions are immediately apparent. Other times, the symptoms are not as obvious. Here are a few signs you should look for in a concussion:

  1. Not thinking clearly
  2. Slow reaction time
  3. Lack of concentration
  4. Loss of memory
  5. Headache(s)
  6. Blurred vision
  7. Nausea or vomiting
  8. Dizziness
  9. Sensitivity to light or noise
  10. Feeling tired or lacking energy
  11. Increased sadness
  12. Nervousness
  13. More emotional
  14. Change in sleep patterns

If you think you might have a concussion, it is crucial that you contact a professional as quickly as possible. This is far easier said than done, though. The signs and symptoms of a concussion can be subtle and may not be immediately apparent. Some symptoms may last for days, or even longer.

Many concussion symptoms may occur without a concussion, which means they can be especially difficult to diagnose. If you have several of these symptoms, though, you should contact a physician immediately. Even if immediate attention isn’t needed, having a concussion without proper medical attention can lead to long-term problems.

How Concussions Happen

In layman’s terms, a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that is caused by a blow to the head or body. This can come from a fall, a hit or any other injury that violently shakes the brain inside of the skull.

Basically, your brain is surrounded by spinal fluid and protected by your skull. The fluid normally acts as a cushion, but when your head gets hit too hard, the brain can crash into the skull and get injured. This typically results in a concussion.

Concussions are unusual for most people but for athletes, some workers, and extreme sports enthusiasts, concussions are more common. The problem with this is that as more research is being done on the long-term effects of concussions on professional athletes, we are learning that these bumps on the noggin can have a much deeper consequence.

DTI Exams Measure Brain Injuries Unseen on Other Exams

Any kind of traumatic brain injury is cause for concern but now Doctors Imaging has a beneficial new technology that can help determine the extent of brain injury and nerve damage due to a concussion. It’s called Diffusion Tensor Imaging or DTI.

Doctors Imaging was the first to introduce New Orleans to a 3.0T MRI and we added Diffusion Tensor Imaging to our services in 2016. Where standard MRIs are well-equipped to obtain useful and comprehensive images of brain tissue, DTI is an advanced form of MRI technology that improves diagnostic practices, particularly in the diagnosis of and recovery from concussions.

Most MRIs can tell if there is tissue damage or bleeding, but DTI exams measure whether there is nerve damage in specific areas of the brain’s white matter. Along with internal bleeding, nerve damage is the primary concern for physicians when dealing with a concussed patient. If you were to look at the health histories of former football players or boxers, you would notice that they have a higher prevalence of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS (Lou Gherig’s Disease) and other neurological disorders as they age. Many people believe the increased incidence of these diseases in these athletes comes from repeated exposure to head and back trauma.

DTI exams are able to focus on the connecting circuits of the brain and localize nerve damage. By recognizing this nerve damage, doctors can keep a close eye on their patient and help them during the recovery from their injury.

One factor that most doctors are very concerned about when they are seeing a concussion patient is an axonal injury. An axonal injury happens when a brain injury causes extensive lesions in the white matter tracts in a widespread or localized area. Diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is so worrying because it can be indicative of long-term brain deficiency. DAI occurs in almost half of all concussion cases. And now with a DTI exam, doctors will be able to make diagnoses and recoveries easier and more beneficial.

As with MRI exams, DTI exams do not use radiation. It is a non-invasive exam and has extremely high success rates. So if you or someone you know has concussion symptoms, be sure learn more about DTI exams from our medical partners at The Concussion Group.

We Can Help You Document Your Work Injury

Regardless of what kind of industry or field you work in, worksite injuries are serious problems for both companies and employees. In case of an injury, the company must find the cause of the injury. And the employee might be out of work for weeks, months, or even years recovering or managing a debilitating injury. Furthermore, if there are court proceedings to determine employee compensation, proper medical images may need to be produced so that a jury can understand the extent of the injury and the effect it will have on the employee’s quality of life.

Having a work injury can be a very difficult time period for an employee. According to the Department of Labor Statistics, there were as many as 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2017 reported by private industries. It may be the responsibility of both employees and employers to make sure that working conditions are as safe as possible. But some accidents cannot be avoided.

At Doctors Imaging, we’ve handled a variety of work-related injuries and we are confident that our equipment and professional experience can be helpful for all courts and attorneys. Finding a private imaging center will be cheaper than visiting a hospital, can take half the time, and can give you just the same or better results. We accept all major health insurance plans and we can make flexible payment plans if your settlement case is ongoing but you need to seek treatment.

For your work-related injury, have your imaging performed at Doctors Imaging. Our radiologists have over 100 years of combined experience and our technology is state of the art. If you have more questions, please call us at 504-883-8111 or use our contact form.

Diagnosing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that doctors classify as a “repetitive strain injury,” meaning that carpal tunnel does not just happen after one injury, but as the result of repeated overuse of the tendons surrounding the median nerve in the wrist. The median nerve controls the movement and feeling in the wrist, up through the palms and fingers and when this nerve experiences long-term pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome can occur.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include: definitive wrist pain spreading into the arm, tingling or numb feeling in the fingers and palm, inability to determine temperature in the fingers, and loss of movement in the wrist, palm and fingers. If left untreated, carpal tunnel can cause the muscles in the hand, especially the thumb, to waste away and become less usable. Carpal tunnel syndrome is seen most often in those that work around computers, avid video game players, or those in assembly line employment: sewing, cleaning or packaging.

The traditional way to determine carpal tunnel treatment was through a physical examination called a Tinel test, in which the treating physician applies slight pressure to the median nerve, usually causing a shock of pain through the patient’s hand. There is also the Phalen test where the patient is asked to hold the back of the hands together with arms out for upwards of 2 minutes. If these tests proved to be inconclusive, most doctors will use electrodiagnostic tests by inserting electric shock into the nerve and measuring the speed in which the signal is transmitted. This process begins by inserting a fine needle into the muscle surrounding the median nerve and applying electrodes into the muscle to determine the degree of damage.

Ultrasound accurate in confirming carpal tunnel syndrome

According to a 2014 article published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, ultrasound technology is helpful at determining Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Orthopedic doctors have found that ultrasound technology may be more effective in determining if a patient has carpal tunnel syndrome. Ultrasounds are used to show if the median nerve is experiencing any impairment as a result of arthritis, muscle tears, or tendonitis.  Ultrasound, especially modern digital ultrasounds, had high sensitivity to carpal tunnel in laboratory studies in comparison to the electrodiagnostic testing. In summary “ultrasound was accurate in 89% of cases and electrodiagnostic testing was accurate in 86% of cases” highlighting that the simpler and less expensive ultrasound technology can determine carpal tunnel syndrome.

Ultrasounds use the power of sound waves in order to produce images. Without any invasive properties, shots or radiation, ultrasounds are safe and comfortable to patients in comparison to needles and electric shocks and they offer invaluable information.

At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we use the Phillips digital ultrasound, a state of the art machine that creates clear and concise images for doctors and can help your hand doctor to determine whether medication, physical therapy or surgery is necessary for those suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. For more information, look through our Ultrasound Page or call us at 504-883-8111 to schedule your ultrasound appointment.

Runner’s Knee Pain and Solutions

Whether for sport or just personal enjoyment, running is a great way to stay fit and active. On average, running can burn as many as 600 calories in an hour and slow jogging can even burn about 400 calories. Whatever your speed is, getting active with running can be a great way to help burn fat, stretch your muscles and keep your heart healthy.

Runners Knee in New Orleans Metairie LouisianaHowever, there can be some downsides to running. Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) or Runner’s Knee is a common complaint for runners. Runner’s knee refers to a pain that comes and goes within and around the knee and leg. This condition doesn’t just affect runners, it can affect anyone that does activities that require intense usage of the knee muscles. Commonly reported symptoms of runner’s knee are:

  • pain behind or around the kneecap
  • pain when bending the knee for any reason like standing, sitting, kneeling etc.
  • worsening pain when walking or going up and down stairs
  • popping or grinding sensation in the knee
  • pain when stretching the knee and leg

Running is a strenuous activity. If it is not done properly before, during and after it can cause injury. When you run, your body weight is being pushed off and then brought down upon your knees. This pressure is what causes muscle soreness and tearing if one does not stretch properly before and after heavy activity. In addition, if you are just beginning a running routine, start slow and work your muscles up to actual sprinting or long distance running.

What is the Treatment for Runner’s Knee?

Runner’s knee is an uncomfortable condition but not necessarily a medical emergency. However, if you continue to use improper techniques or don’t rest the knee enough, it can easily become a serious problem.

1. Stretching

Light stretching of the knee can help to alleviate tension and pain making it easier to continue a running regiment. Stretching is smart technique to implement before any kind of exercise in order to keep good blood flow and muscles relaxed.

2. Compression Sleeves

Compression sleeves for the knee can help to make sure that pressure is evenly distributed through the knee as well as helping to support it.

3. Elevation and Ice

If you are having difficulty moving after exercise, be sure to elevate and apply ice to the knee. This will stop tense muscles from swelling and ease the pain.

4. Wearing Running Shoes

Shoes are a crucial of running properly without injury. If you have flat feet or orthopedic issues, running can be extremely harmful to the knees. Be sure that you are wearing shoes that are designed for running and if you have problems like fallen arches or flat feet, buy shoe inserts that will help support your feet.

5. Consider Other Problems

If your knee pain is persistent and these other suggestions are not seeing beneficial results, there may be a bigger problem causing your pain. You could have soft tissue damage or ligament and tendon issues.

Patellar tendonitis is a common athletic injury that can often be confused with runner’s knee. The patellar tendon is the bit of muscle that connects the kneecap to the shinbone, as a result, this tendon has to absorb a lot of the pressure from running. A physical examination along with an MRI would be the easiest way to find out if what your knee needs.

You could have bone alignment issues that need to be addressed. X-rays would be the easiest way to determine if you have a misalignment in the knee or leg bones that are causing undue pressure on the knee.

If you have knee pain that is interfering with your daily life and activities, consider having your doctor send you to have medical imaging performed at Doctors Imaging in Metairie. Our state of the art equipment and years of experience reassure our patient’s thorough, fast results. You can set up an appointment online through our Request Appointment form or you can call our offices at 504-883-8111.

Widespread Pain Could Be Fibromyalgia

Pain is part of the human condition. It is our body’s response to unpleasant stimuli or injury. Pain is a signal that something is dangerous and reminds us to not to do it again. However, there are the conditions that cause chronic pain as a part of their symptom list. One major contributor to chronic pain is fibromyalgia. The symptoms for fibromyalgia are varied and can easily mimic the effects of other diseases.

Some commonly reported symptoms of fibromyalgia are widespread, persisting pain throughout the body lasting longer than six months. Other symptoms include constant fatigue, low energy, reduced tolerance of exercise or aerobic activity, numbness or tingling in the extremities, tension headaches and what is described as the “fibro fog” or a difficulty remembering details or concentrating.

As you can see, these kind of symptoms can be easily misdiagnosed as part of the aging process, fatigue, or just too much stress. In fact, fibromyalgia has been connected to high levels of stress. Even the breakdown of the name fibromyalgia can be vague. If we look at the Latin roots of the word, “fibro” refers to the fibrous tissues in the body, “myo” meaning muscle and “alga” meaning pain translates into “pain in the muscles and the fibrous tissue.” In essence, that includes about 90% of the body.

There is no standard medical test that can conclusively diagnose fibromyalgia. What happens is really a lesson in elimination. After the physical and blood tests have been performed, medical imaging is another method to eliminate possible causes for chronic pain like tumors or structural deformities. Medical imaging tests like full-body MRIs and brain CTs can rule out most of the common causes of chronic pain and point to fibromyalgia.

Doctors have not yet found the cause behind fibromyalgia. Some theorize that it could be a combination of genetic, environmental and autoimmune and neurological. According to some research, the brains of some fibromyalgia patients have shown to contain some functional and structural differences from the brains of healthy patients. While the research hopes to find a cause for the condition, patients still need to find solutions and therapies to help deal with the symptoms.

Some patients have found success in physical therapy, where the physicality helps to keep them in shape and find management for their pain. Exercise has been proven to helpful for some patients. Aquatic exercise like swimming can be particularly helpful because the buoyancy of the water provides relief for inflamed joints.  Other physicians recommend psychological therapy, in particular cognitive behavioral therapy, to help with the mental toll of chronic pain. Some patients utilize pain management medications, everything from anti-seizure medications to anti-depressants to opiates. If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, it is important to talk to your doctor about the right pain management system for your lifestyle.

If you have more questions about medical imaging for chronic pain conditions or fibromyalgia, feel free to use our Request an Appointment feature to schedule a consultation or call our offices at 504-833-8111 to speak with a representative of Doctors Imaging in Metairie.