MRI Scan For Back Pain
What Is An MRI Scan?
An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Image) Scan is a medical technology that has revolutionized the management of people with back pain.
It is often considered the single best imaging modality for diagnosing the precise cause of the problem and gold standard to help with planning appropriate treatment for spine problems.
What Causes Back Pain?
There are many possible causes of back pain, aches and stiffness.
Some conditions such muscle sprains are relatively safe and can often naturally recover within a week with simple treatments such as rest, plasters, medications and back supports.
Other conditions such as lumbar spondylosis (also known as spinal degeneration) , slipped discs, sciatica, nerve compression, spinal infections and even tumours can have much more severe consequences if timely appropriate treatments are not provided.
How Is Back Pain Treated?
A common cost-effective approach taken by many doctors, physiotherapists and traditional healthcare providers is to use a diagnosis based on talking to a patient and doing a medical examination.
Based on this diagnosis, a trial of therapy is carried out.
If successful, the patient feels better quickly and the need to spend money on further investigations such as an X-ray or MRI can often be avoided.
If symptoms of pain, aches, stiffness do not improve after 2 weeks of treatment, a review of the diagnosis and imaging such as an X-ray or MRI should be considered.
Effective non-invasive treatments such as Physiotherapy, Shockwave Therapy and Radiofrequency can then be chosen depending on on the most appropriate option.
Choosing between an X-ray and an MRI
While back X-rays are a commonly used cheaper scan, they provide much less information compared to an MRI.
An X-ray can show some information regarding the general bone structure but is not able to provide much information regarding the discs, muscles, ligaments and nerves of the spine.
It is important to note that when an X-ray of the back is reported by a doctor to be “normal” or “OK for your age”, it may miss out the presence of severe and possibly dangerous conditions.
An MRI is by far more precise and useful to establish the cause of back pain.
Why Do People Delay Doing Lumbar Spine (Back) MRIs?
An MRI of the back is a very safe investigation and does not involve radiation associated with X-rays.
It is often the preferred scan for someone with severe or persistent back pain.
The main reason holding people and even doctors from requesting lumbar MRIs is the misconception that they cost too much.
While a quick check with some private imaging centres will likely reveal the costs of an MRI to be well over a thousand Singapore dollars, there are often ways to reduce the cash involved.
3 Ways To Reduce Your MRI Costs
- Singaporean patients may visit a polyclinic for a referral to a restructured hospital. If the doctor in the restructured hospital agrees to order an MRI for your back, the government subsidy given will significantly reduce the cost involved.
- Many insurance plans will cover the costs of your back MRIs. Company health insurance plans, personal accident insurance plans, and even integrated shield plans that many Singaporeans have bought using their medisave can cover the costs of an MRI scan.
- Medisave is also an option to help people pay for their MRI scans. Depending on your medical condition, it is possible to claim up to $300 or $600 of medisave for your MRI scans.
In view of the many options available, an MRI scan should be considered for a timely precise diagnosis of the cause of a person’s back pain.
A delayed diagnosis can allow many conditions to deteriorate, sometimes to the point of requiring spine surgery.
It will also prevent you from getting the most effective treatment, result in unnecessarily prolonged suffering, as well as limit your work and social life.
Back Pain MRI Package @ $850
Pre-MRI Consultation and Assessment
MRI Lumbar Spine
Post-MRI Review and Prescription
If you are unsure about your condition, simply call us at +65 6732 2397
or leave a message below for Dr Tan to discuss a customized non-invasive solution for you.
What To Expect When I Visit The Pain Relief Clinic
A typical visit will involve our doctor first understanding your medical history, concerns and previous experience with other pain treatments.
For patients who have consulted many people but have yet to receive a clear diagnosis, selecting an affordable imaging scan might be recommended to confirm the cause of your pain..
Some patients have already done scans with other doctors for their pain condition but are still not clearly told what they suffer from.
Dr Terence Tan is happy to offer you a second opinion and recommend how best to manage your condition.
We also see patients who already have a confirmed diagnosis from specialist pain doctors, but are "stuck” because treatment options offered are not practical or acceptable.
We can help by discussing options that you might have potentially never been told of.
A common experience is when a patient has already consulted a specialist doctor for pain management and is told to consider orthopaedic surgery which they find too aggressive.
Or they may have seen doctors for their pain and were prescribed painkillers with potential side effects which made them feel uncomfortable.
Many of our patients have also first tried complementary treatments or acupuncture with traditional Chinese pain doctors.
They look for a second opinion after finding any relief experienced from other treatments to be temporary or requiring repetitive treatments, which add up to time and cost.
Especially in such situations, we emphasize using non-invasive medical technology you likely have not been told about .
This can make a big difference to your results.