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MRI for torn muscle?

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Does an mri diagnose torn muscles or tendons in the back? I'm haveing intense pain after a strenuous 5 day canoe trip. The dr is scheduling an mri and I dont know why
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replied August 24th, 2011
Active User, very eHealthy
An MRI will image everything bones joints muscels tendons nerves ligaments disks
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replied August 24th, 2011
Especially eHealthy
mommakris38,

An MRI is a pretty big gun for a backache after strenuous activity, especially if you do not have any "red flags" for a significant back injury. And it is expensive.


But, yes, an MRI will reveal edema (blood) in the muscle, if it has been torn. If it is just due to muscle soreness from lactic acid build up, like the soreness you see when starting a new activity, the MRI will not pick that up.

The MRI is based on hydrogen atoms, and the more hydrogen atoms in a tissue, the better it will delineate the anatomy. So, tissues that have a lot of water in them (H2O), will show up as white on MRI; things like fat, fluid, blood, etc. Muscle is intermediate, so it appears in shades of grey. Cortical bone and tendons appear black, as they have little water in them.


Hope your back feels better soon. Good luck.
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