For the more serious sports injuries, a doctor will examine your injury and using one or more of the following diagnostic techniques:
Computed Tomography Scan
A CAT scan is performed by a computer linked to an x-ray machine which takes a series of pictures of the areas of interest inside the body from a variety of angles. The pictures are then combined using a computer to give a detailed three dimensional (3D) image of the area.
CT scans generate pictures that may indicate problems with bones, herniated discs, or issues with muscles, blood vessels, tendons, nerves, and ligaments. In addition, CAT scans are very useful in the diagnosis and monitoring of cancer. CAT scans are capable of detecting extremely small tumours and enable doctors to determine if a tumour has spread.
EMG is a medical technique for measuring, recording, and evaluating the electrical impulses generated by nerves and how muscles respond to these impulses, either at rest or while contracting. EMG is uses an instrument called an electromyograph to produce a record called an electromyogram. The electromyograph detects the electrical potential generated by muscle cells when the muscles contract, and also when the muscles are at rest. This information can be useful for studying nerve and muscle function.
Studying the pathways of nerve-conduction can indicate whether nerve compression or pinching is occurring. Such compression or pinching may be caused by the spinal canal becoming narrower (a condition known as Spinal Stenosis) or a Herniated Disc.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Also known as Magnetic Resonance Tomography (MRT) and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). An MRI scan is performed by a computer linked to a powerful magnet, and utilising radio frequency waves, to create clear images of the internal structures of the body, including the muscles, nerves, brain, spinal cord, and bones. The images produced show the presence of tumours, fractures, and other abnormalities.
An MRI can provide important and highly useful information about tissues and organs, particularly the nervous system, that is not available by using other imaging techniques. MRI scans have also found a range of novel applications outside of the medical and biological fields, such as rock permeability studies, hydrocarbons studies, and produce studies, and timber quality characterization studies.
This is the use of specially focused and aimed bursts of radiation to take pictures of areas inside the body. The amount of radiation used in most X-Rays and other diagnostic tests are so small that it poses little risk to the patient under normal usage levels. X-ray images allow a doctor to see if any bones are out of alignment and also see whether you have any broken bones or other bone abnormalities. However, X-ray images have their limitations. For example, they cannot directly show problems with the spinal cord, muscles, fibrous tissues (called Fascia), nerves, or discs.
Once a doctor knows the full extent of your injury or injuries, they will usually start with conservative treatment techniques