Finding the true cause of your pain

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Diagnostic ultrasound may be helpful in pinpointing the true cause of your pain.

By Patricia Delzell, M.D., Advanced Musculoskeletal Medicine Consultants, Inc.

When dealing with musculoskeletal pain, doctors may order an MRI, which often does not reveal the problem. An ultrasound, however, is an ideal tool for looking at areas of chronic pain. It can pinpoint the structure that is causing your pain and—because ultrasound can look at your tissues in motion—it can diagnose issues that non-dynamic tests cannot. In addition, because of its high spatial resolution, ultrasound can identify chronic changes in the soft tissues that are not seen with MRI or CT.

Here are a few scenarios where diagnostic ultrasound may be helpful in pinpointing the true cause of your pain:

1. When you lie flat on your stomach, can you bend your knees to 90 degrees without pain in your upper thigh and buttocks? If not, you likely have an old hamstring injury.

2. Do you experience persistent radiating pain, numbness, tingling, or heaviness in your limbs? If so, you may have nerve injury or nerve entrapment.

3. Do you have perpetual knots in your muscles? There are layers of multiple muscles and other supporting soft tissues, especially in the hips, shoulder and back. An ultrasound can easily distinguish among these layers to identify scarring.

4. Do you have persistent pain after joint replacement? Soft tissue scar in the muscles and fascia can be the cause of pain that mimics joint pain. Ultrasound is the test of choice for evaluating these soft tissues.

At Advanced MMC, we use ultrasound to look at soft tissues in the area of pain as well as the ones in that structure’s biomechanical or kinetic chain to make sure the entire group of tissues is working correctly and not putting strain on one structure or another. We also use ultrasound to evaluate the internal details of tendons, muscles, ligaments, nerves and fascia. If there is physical pain caused by any of these, an ultrasound should be able to reveal it and help determine how best to treat it.

Advanced Musculoskeletal Medicine Consultants’ new offices are at 8401 Chagrin Rd., Suite 20A, in Chagrin Falls. To schedule a chronic pain phone consultation, call 440-557-5011. Visit for more information, including blogs and videos.