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Imaging and Diagnosis: Your Osteopath Visit

Your reason for visiting an Osteopath is most likely for pain relief. It can also be for learning and understanding what your diagnosis is and what is causing you pain or dysfunction. With knowledge comes power, and you can use this knowledge to better manage your pain.

Osteopaths use a variety of skills to help diagnose your pain.

  • Taking a thorough history and asking questions about your complaint. This can include how it started, its progression, any aggravating or relieving factors, what it feels like.
  • Examining your body, including your function and how you move, as well as the feeling of your muscles and tissues.
  • Undertaking special tests specific to the area of your pain and complaint.

If further assistance is required, your Osteopath may refer you off for imaging.

The most common types of imaging include:

  • X-Ray . This imaging is commonly used to see bones, so it’s useful when diagnosing fractures and arthritis.
  • Ultrasound . Used to visualise soft tissues such as muscles, tendons and organs. Most useful when diagnosing tendonitis, muscle tears and bursitis.
  • MRI / CT Scan. This type of imaging is more expensive. It gives much greater detail of the soft and bony tissues as it depicts water and fat throughout the body. It is often used to show the central nervous system and spinal nerves, vertebral discs and all soft tissues.

Whilst obtaining imaging can assist with your diagnosis and prognosis, it should be used as a tool and always included with your clinical picture.

Clinical experience has shown that sometimes these imaging and scan results can be misleading for patients and often can cause a worse mental/emotional outcome when scanning for lower back pain. When discussing MRI’s, it is frequently found that the findings on the imaging does not always match the patient in front of us. For example:

  • Symptoms of pain can occur with no findings on imaging.
  • Pathological findings can occur without any pain.
  • Severity of the pain does not correlate with the findings on the imaging.
  • Patients experience positive outcomes, even though no changes occur on the imaging.

This makes it imperative that your Osteopath includes but does not solely rely on your imaging when forming your diagnosis, your treatment and further management.

Once your diagnosis has been explained, your Osteopath will be able to better advise you on your treatment, management and prognosis.
You may have questions such as:

  • How long will this take to get better?
  • What can I do at home for relief?
  • Can I exercise?
  • Can I go back to work?
  • Should I use heat or ice?
  • Should I be taking medication?
  • Is there anything I should avoid doing?

We will give you a clear clinical picture and a response that correlates DIRECTLY to you and your condition and presentation. This is really important to be aware of as each person has a different history, different body, and different lifestyle, even though they may be presenting with the same problem and pain. We treat you as an individual and tailor everything to YOUR specific needs.

If you have any of the above questions, or would like some further information about imaging, osteopathy or what we do, don’t hesitate to be in touch with St Kilda Osteopathy. Our aim is to create optimal health for your body.

Categories: Common Conditions, General Information, Pain Relief