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 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.
Choosing between an X-ray and an MRI
While 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 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 MRIs?
An MRI 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 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, the government subsidy given will significantly reduce the cost involved.
- Many insurance plans will cover the costs of your MRIs. Company health insurance plans, personal accident insurance plans, and even integrated shield plans that many Singaporeans have bought using their medisave will 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 it possible to use 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 a patient from getting the most effective treatments, result in unnecessarily prolonged suffering, as well as limit their work and social lives.
Back Pain MRI Package @ $700
Pre-MRI Consultation and Assessment
MRI Lumbar Spine
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The 7 Day Pain Recovery Program
Dr. Terence Tan
Pain Association of Singapore,
Singapore Medical Association
Call for Appointments
350 Orchard Road
#10-00 Shaw House
Medical Suites @ Orchard
Singapore 238 868