We can extensively test the muscles, ligaments and joints without any scans. Physiotherapists use a variety of stress, pressure, movement, slide and glide tests. The tests can identify the specific site or tissues where the problems are. In some cases where there is direct trauma (car accident, fall) we might approach it more carefully. We will refer you directly for X-rays that we make sure there are no fractures (structural instability).
In most cases, X-rays is helpful when there is no improvement in symptoms. The identification of the problem sight may be correct, but it doesn’t react to treatment. Also, the symptoms can span over too many levels to pinpoint precisely.
Identify the structure
It should make sense first to identify the structure at fault before we send you for expensive scans and tests. Remember that not all scans show the same structures. X-rays only show the bones, a sonar or ultrasound shows the ligaments and muscle tissue on the surface. CT scan/ CAT scan shows more connective tissue than a sonar, but less than an MRI. MRI scans can be used to identify most structures, which include nerves, arteries, and all the others.
There is no use getting an x-ray done of your back if you have a muscle or ligament problem. So we advise patients to start the process with us to identify the issues. We will investigate the relationships between the structures in your back before you go spending thousands of rands on unnecessary scans and tests.