As with all initial visits to a physician, diagnosis begins with taking a careful medical history, a thorough examination and evaluation, and appropriate laboratory and physiological testing.
Although the diagnostic tools available to our PM&R physicians are the same as those used by other physicians, such as x-ray, CT scan or MRI, we also utilize sophisticated equipment that can pick up and record electrical signals from your muscles. One such test, the electromyogram (EMG), is similar in principle to an electrocardiogram (EKG). Musculoskeletal performance may also be evaluated with state-of-the-art isokinetic testing, which is widely accepted for it’s precision and safety. Diagnostic Ultrasound Imaging, also known as Sonography, is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. It involves using high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the inside of the body. Ultrasound exams do not use ionizing radiation (as is the case with x-rays). Ultrasound images are captured in real-time and provide diagnostic images of muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and soft tissue throughout the body. Diagnostic Ultrasound is primarily used to evaluate muscle, tendon and nerve injuries.
These techniques help the physiatrist diagnose the underlying conditions that cause pain, weakness, and numbness often overlooked by standard diagnostic tests.
The public is rightfully very careful about what tests they want to expose themselves to because they are worried about the risks involved. Unlike many diagnostic studies performed by other medical specialties, most of the specialized diagnostic tools we utilize present no restrictions to patients regarding their activities before or after the tests and no permanent after effects.