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Effective Use of Diagnostic Tools for Identifying Pain

A well-trained medical professional knows that finding an effective treatment plan rests on making the correct diagnosis. This is especially true of pain, because it is very subjective. While diagnosis could be a little tricky, modern advancements combined with traditional methods have given us definitive ways to help narrow a doctor’s choices in pinpointing a specific cause for pain. From detailed blood analyses to a simple patient interview—the littlest aspect counts.

Health History

One of the most important sources of information is you. The patient. In fact, what the health professionals find out from an interview with you is what they use as direction for other tests and surveys. You will be asked to provide information on your general lifestyle, your family history, as well as other facts that you think might be relevant to what is causing your pain. The more details you give them on your physical history (and the further back in time), the better. Medical health professionals are sworn to confidentiality, so if you want to give them the most accurate picture of your health, don’t be afraid to hold back.

Physical Examination

The physical examination comes next. Often this is when you identify the specific location of pain or discomfort. The doctor will examine the area for any external or internal abnormalities. For instance, common places of pain are the lower back and neck, because the body places pressure on these areas during exertion. Generally, doctors will have a look at the following aspects:
• Spine and neck motion
• Muscle weakness
• Pain and tenderness at nerve endings
• Sensory changes
• Reflex changes
• Motor skills

Some parts of the body are often more vulnerable to certain conditions, especially if pain is felt in that part. The neck and back, for example, contain several important nerves, muscles and ligaments that may have been strained, or in any way damaged. If you have lately been experiencing fever, rapid weight loss, abnormal pulse, and vertigo, you should definitely let your doctor know.

Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests

By this point, the doctor has formed a considerably substantial idea of what the problem is, and you will be subjected to a series of diagnostic tests (with your consent, of course) to confirm it. Diagnostic tests may also be used to “rule out” certain conditions, instead of identifying the specific condition that could be troubling you. When used strategically, diagnostic tests can significantly narrow the picture, making it easier for the doctor to diagnose your pain.

• X-Ray
An x-ray allows doctors to take a clear image of your bones, as well as any abnormalities, such as fractures, tumors or infections. If you are pregnant, or think you might be, tell your doctor. X-rays are off limits for pregnant women.
• MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) Scan
An MRI scan is miles ahead of an x-ray in terms of detail, as it can take clearer and more comprehensive photos of your internal workings. However, it is also a bit more costly. MRIs allow doctors to see extremely detailed abnormalities in your spine, from herniated discs to the narrowing of your spinal canal.
• CAT (Computer Assisted Tomography) Scan

The CAT scan allows doctors to look through each section of your spine. It is often considered as somewhere between an X-ray and MRI in its capabilities.

These are the basics, but there are all sorts of diagnostic tests available, depending on your condition. For instance, if you’re looking for sciatica nerve pain help in Pinellas County, a straight leg rising test and a MR neurography will be more up your speed than a simple X-ray. On the other hand, if you need neck pain relief in Florida see if you can get a professional to safely perform a myelogram and a EMG (Electrodiagnostic) study. One example of using diagnostic tools strategically is using palpitations in the neck to determine nerve damage, as in the inner ear problem Dr of Palm Harbour.
Whatever the method of diagnosis, effective treatment is often the end-game of all the tests and interviews that patients need to undergo. For instance, the primary treatment for a bulging disc in Tampa is simply to rest, alternating hot and cold compresses to reduce swelling. For all you know, after seeking back pain relief in St. Pete, all you need is a prescription for NSAIDs, and you’ll be good to go.

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