Researchers in Sweden have just announced that they have successfully used PET scans to help identify and diagnose soft tissue injuries such as tennis elbow. For those who are not familiar with PET scans here is how they work.
PET is short for positron emission tomography. It is a popular imaging method used in medical diagnoses which involves injecting a radioactive tracer into the bloodstream of the patient.
This specific type of radioactive tracer is a chemical compound that only attaches and sticks to a specific type of cell signaling receptor called NK1. This receptor is widely known to play a role in a patients threshold of pain.
For anyone who suffers from soft tissue injuries when these tissues are damaged, there is an increase in a neuropeptide substance called P. Again this sticks and attaches to the NK1 receptor.
Due to the fact that the neuropeptide is radioactive, the compound “lights up” in the PET scan, showing where it is binding to NK1 in the body, and in the case of tennis elbow – pain on the outside of the elbow.
Read: Where Does Tennis Elbow Hurt and What Does It Feel Like
How was the study performed?
The researchers selected 10 individuals who had been suffering from chronic tennis elbow who were actively treating their tennis elbow condition with the use of exercise. Before beginning the treatment, a PET scan was performed on each of the 10 individuals selected which indicated that the tracer intensity was higher in their affected arm (showed more light) than their unaffected arm. If a person is interested in withdrawal, then they should know that getting rid of lateral epicondylitis requires a bit of time. The intensity and pressure is adjusted according to the requirement of the patients. There should be reduction in the performing of the exercises and activities to get the desired results.
The results: 80 percent of the individuals when examined after treatment their described their pain levels as less than before the treatment. Strangely though was that the tracer signal intensity only went down in 50 percent of the cases, and went up in the other 30 percent. (original article: Medical News Today)
Why is this study important?
The main reason why people go to see their family Doctor or GP is because of pain. The problem is that most Doctors don’t specialize in tennis elbow. Sure they can do a quick test in the consulting room but with the help of a PET scan, they can make a more definite diagnosis. This helps speed up the diagnosis process and takes the guessing game away from the patient and Doctor. Any sort of technological advances that helps the Doctor and patient come to a quick and accurate diagnosis should be embraced and implemented.
The problem is that these PET scan machines are very expensive and not widely available to most patients. Most likely you would need to goto your local area hospital in order to have one of these scans performed on your affected elbow. And in most instances, you will need a referral from your Doctor.
Once you have a diagnosis in hand, what are your next steps for treatment?
The medically community supports and promotes exercise as the key to a full recovery from tennis elbow. Everything else such as cortisone shots, anti-inflammatory pills or creams, and elbow braces, straps and bands are simply useless and futile in promoting healing of your affected elbow.
If you are serious about getting rid of your stubborn tennis elbow pain once and for all, this video will show you the vital 5 steps you must take right now to put your injury behind you.