Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic exam that uses a magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues in the body.

An MRI machine is a large, tube-shaped magnet that temporarily realigns water molecules in the patient’s body and emits radio waves that cause these aligned atoms to produce faint signals, which are then used to create cross-sectional MRI images.

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Woman-undergoing-MRI-scan

Who Needs an MRI?


An MRI of the brain and spinal cord can be done to help diagnose:

  • Aneurysms of cerebral vessels
  • Disorders of the eye and inner ear
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spinal cord disorders
  • Stroke
  • Tumors
  • Brain injury from trauma

An MRI of the bones and joints can be done to help identify:

  • Joint abnormalities caused by traumatic or repetitive injuries, such as torn cartilage or ligaments
  • Disc abnormalities in the spine
  • Bone infections
  • Tumors of the bones and soft tissues

An MRI is not safe for patients who have metal or electronic devices in their body, such as:

  • Metallic joint prostheses
  • Artificial heart valves
  • An implantable heart defibrillator
  • Implanted drug infusion pumps
  • Implanted nerve stimulators
  • A pacemaker
  • Metal clips
  • Metal pins, screws, plates, stents or surgical staples
  • Cochlear implants
  • A bullet, shrapnel, or any other type of metal fragment
  • Intrauterine device
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What to Expect During an MRI


Patients will lie down on a movable table that slides into the opening of the tube. During the exam, a technologist will monitor the patient from another room and speak to them through a microphone.

Patients with claustrophobia may be given a sedative to make them sleepy and less anxious. The procedure is painless, and patients won’t feel the magnetic field or radio waves.

During an MRI scan, the internal part of the magnet creates repetitive tapping, thumping, and other noises. The entire procedure can take 15 minutes to more than one hour, depending on the body part(s) being scanned. Patients will need to lie very still so that the machine can produce clear images.

Depending on the results of an MRI, patients will need to undergo treatment for the illness or condition.

Treatment Options


Treatment may include pain management techniques, joint and soft tissue injections, and occupational medicine. The right treatment will depend on the patient’s condition and level of pain.

Pain management techniques, such as cold and heat therapy, gentle exercise, physical therapy, therapeutic massage, music therapy, biofeedback, mind-body techniques, and occupational therapy, may also be necessary. Each patient will receive personalized recommendations for managing pain after the MRI diagnostic process..

Patients at Westcare Clinics may also receive joint and soft tissue injections to address pain. These injections may include epidural injections (interlaminar and transforaminal), piriformis injection, sacroiliac joint injections, and trigger point injections.

Westcare Clinics offers occupational medicine for patients who need to continue working while undergoing treatment. Our team of healthcare practitioners trains employers to adapt the workplace and worker responsibilities according to the physical limitations of an ill or injured employee.

Advanced Treatment


Patients experiencing severe symptoms may need advanced treatment that may include surgery, acupuncture, physical therapy, chiropractic adjustment, and other forms of rehabilitation. The Westcare Clinics team is happy to answer any questions patients may have about obtaining advanced treatment.

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