Many patients may expect that they will get x-rays after a car accident in order to help doctors figure out the extent of their injuries. These days, the practice of performing x-rays or “radiology” is more complex and comes in many different forms. Here are some of the routine tests that will help show doctors the condition of a patient’s spinal column and related nerves, muscles and tissues in the body.
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Plain Film Radiography
The kinds of contrasting images that are popularly called x-rays are referred to in the medical community as “conventional plain film radiography.” These images work by contrasting heavy elements like bone and metal with lighter or less dense elements like air, water or body fat. These black-and-white images often help doctors to see if any those are out of place, or whether other kinds of health conditions exist, such as infections or specific kinds of traumatic injuries other than bone dislocation.
Computerized x-ray tomography or “CT scan” is often done in addition to normal x-rays. Doctors may use CT scanning to identify areas where inflammation or other causes have led to damage of muscles or body tissues. On CT scans, doctors often look for evidence of infection or “lesions” that indicate damage to body tissues.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI is another common type of test that doctors will perform on auto accident victims. This kind of testing is especially useful in looking at the spinal column and the lower back in particular. In fact, many doctors consider the MRI to be uniquely useful in looking at different spinal conditions that can be caused by accident impacts, including damage to ligaments or certain kinds of internal bleeding.
Bone Scan Testing
This kind of evaluation can turn up some more subtle bone conditions that might not be visible on conventional x-rays. Doctors may recommend these when patients complain of pain and discomfort even when regular x-rays look normal.
Electrodiagnostic Testing and Electromyography
These kinds of tests are a little different from some of the above tests that focus on bone structures. Electrodiagnostic testing can help diagnose conditions related to sensory and motor nerves. Electromyography uses sensors to study muscle activities in order to help with a final diagnosis. Some of these tests can also reveal whether specific nerves have been damaged by finding out whether the nerve responds to a stimulus at a specific point in the body.
All of these kinds of tests can help chiropractors and other physicians to figure out exactly how an auto accident victim has been hurt. Ask about these procedures and how they fit into your unique diagnostic and treatment plan when you are seeking medical attention for conditions related to a car accident.