If you’re serious about sport and fitness, you’ll dread the ‘i’ word. Injury can completely derail a training programme and put your fitness goals seriously off course, as well as being painful, uncomfortable and interfering with the rest of your lifestyle. This is why every part of a training programme, from medical support to the physical training itself, is geared around avoiding and preventing injury.
Many athletes and fitness fanatics swear by preventative diagnostics to help them avoid injury, particularly those who have had trouble with an irritating recurring injury. Some injuries never fully go away, but you can manage your activity and take other measures so as to avoid a flare-up. For example, procedures such as MRI scans can help the athlete and their medical team adjust their training regime so as to avoid aggravating an existing injury or developing any new ones.
MRI scans and sports injuries
Most people only have an MRI scan when they’ve had an injury and their doctor or hospital refers them to a hospital to undergo the procedure. MRI scans can be used to produce detailed images of virtually any part of the body, from the spine to the brain. They are used to diagnose a wide range of conditions with muscles, nerves, cartilage and ligaments, organs and the spinal cord, and they are particularly useful for sports injuries.
However, you can also arrange private MRI scans if you haven’t had an injury yet but you feel (or your doctor feels) that it could be beneficial to have one. They are often used by professional athletes and those training for events, as well as fitness-keen individuals. A scan can reveal how well an old injury is healing as well as the likelihood of it flaring up again, as well as problems in any joints, muscles or ligaments that could cause serious injury later on. An athlete may have been experiencing pain or discomfort when training – an MRI scan can get to the bottom of this pain and reveal what’s going on before it turns into an injury which puts the person out of action for many months.
The benefit of private MRI scans is that you can often get the results back far more quickly than in an NHS hospital where a GP has referred you. Some facilities do next day MRI scans or even same day services, so that you can sit down with a specialist to discuss the results immediately. This makes it a convenient service for those who are serious about sport and exercise, and it can also help you make rapid changes to your training programme that could even prevent serious injury in the future.