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Old 06-05-2004, 08:34 PM   #2
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 56
Re: CT scan or MRI and what is the difference?

[QUOTE=divadebi]Anyway I have had recurrent back pain which was diagnosed as myofascial pain syndrome - pain I suppose that refers down the right side of my back, but my arm/shoulder really seems to be the culprit - I also played softball when I was young (first base) and I really think the pain I am experiencing all the time under my right shoulder blade comes from overextending my arm throwing the ball!! If I am perfectly still and don't walk, it doesn't hurt, but as soon as I go for a walk, oh brother feels like a burning pain in the same place. I know arthritic pain you are supposed to move the area, but this seems to hurt when I use my arm. Sitting at a desk, computer of course wreaks havoc and I take IB infrequently as well as SOMA which makes me "zombieish" usually at night when I know I can rest. [B][COLOR=DarkRed]Have you had any diagnostic testing done on just your shoulder? Remember how all these muscles and tendons are hooked togther. It sounds more like you have a tear in the shoulder. On the other hand, neck disc problems can cause extreme shoulder and mid-back problems. Personally, I'd ask my doc for a MRI of the cervical spine and of the affected shoulder.
How far can you lift your arm? Lift straight in front of your body, then to the side away from your body.[/COLOR][/B]
My question is should I spend the $ for a CT scan or MRI and what is the difference?
Both tests provide detailed pictures of areas of the body that used to be inaccessible by conventional x-rays. Therefore, 20 - 25 years ago, exploratory or invasive surgery may have been required. CT scans give us excellent information on anatomical fea tures and tissue density (this allows for the detection of tumors, and sometimes the ability to distinguish between malignant and benign tumors). CT scans can also detect calcium deposits, cysts, and abscesses. They are often used in place of ultrasound for obese patients because fat deposits often hinder ultrasonic waves. CT scanning does carry with it the risks associated with x-ray exposure, although it is significantly less than that from ordinary x-rays.

On the other hand, MRI has no known associated health risks. However, people with pacemakers, aneurysm clips, or other implants that contain magnetic materials are generally advised not to undergo MRI testing. What can be learned from MRIs is, generally , more sophisticated and detailed than from CT scanning. MRI is best put to use in examining the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). It can also be used to identify tumors, strokes, degenerative diseases, inflammation, infection, and oth er abnormalities in organs and other soft tissue of the body. One last major difference is cost -- MRIs cost a lot more than CT scans.

If my arm has been overextended, is there any repair surgery for this? [B][COLOR=DarkRed]Yes, there is available surgery to correct this. If its just a cause of a tendon or ligament being stretched out too far, they can shorten it. If its a muscle tear, that can be repaired also.[/COLOR][/B] It is so debilitating to be in pain every day already -- not young 55 but feel more like a dicrepid 80!!! Heating pad helps, but I am sick of "riding it"! Thanks![/QUOTE]