Why live with chronic pain?

Get the answers you need to improve the quality of your life—and save money at the same time.

Jenna has finally adjusted to working from home full-time. Your youngest has just graduated from high school and is looking forward to finally becoming an empty nester. Despite all the recent changes that have slowed down her once hectic life, she still enjoys an active calendar full of brunch dates with her friends; hiking with her dog; long weekend trips with her partner (during which you choose the activities now, not their children); and to catch the occasional concert or two at Red Rocks. But recently Jenna has noticed that the persistent pain in her lower back has been getting worse.

She used to ignore it. There were too many other things – too many other people – to worry about. But she can no longer avoid the pain: it is beginning to affect her quality of life. At 52, Jenna has noticed that her regular hikes are becoming shorter and less frequent. Her back and hips throb when she sits for too long. Sometimes it spreads to tingling in her right toes. The over-the-counter medications she normally relies on are no longer relieving the pain. She begins to worry that she won’t get up for the concerts she’s been looking forward to, exploring the weekend craft markets—one of her favorite summertime activities—or making the long drive to drop her daughter off at college some months.

Pain is our body’s warning siren, telling us something is wrong. We are trained from a young age to “walk it off” or let it run its course. Which is fine when it comes to something harmless like a minor cut. It’s not such good advice when something more serious is going on in our bodies. Twenty percent of adults in the United States suffer from some form of chronic pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the condition is more common in women and older adults. Even more people are struggling with less severe but still life-threatening bouts of pain.

get answers

The good news is that you can regain some control over your body and your health. Medical diagnostic imaging – think: CT and MRI scans – provides an extremely detailed internal view of your body structures. If done early enough, it can help doctors diagnose illnesses and injuries before they become critical or interfere with your daily life. Or it can guide treatment plans to help you live longer or more comfortably.

Touchstone for medical imaging Has 12 Front Range locations, including one near Jenna’s home in suburban Denver. They are staffed by board-certified, specialist radiologists who are trained to analyze every part of your body, from the brain to the joints to the liver. The outpatient centers are open on weekends or during pre- and post-work hours to make appointments convenient for everyone, and same-day appointments are available for certain exams such as an ultrasound, X-ray, MRI, or CT scan.

Touchstone is in the network with more than 90 percent of the insurance plans. Even better, the cost of these imaging services is, on average, 40 to 60 percent lower than the imaging procedures performed in hospitals. Jenna’s family now has a high-deductible health plan, and this is what appealed to her the most. She worried about the cost; that’s the main reason why she hadn’t looked for answers sooner.

Providing diagnostic insights for better health

After speaking to her doctor, Jenna booked an MRI with Touchstone to understand what was causing her back pain. Not only did her doctor receive the MRI results within hours of her appointment, but Jenna was also given online access to her radiology report in a patient-friendly format. The interactive interface uses lay language and anatomical diagrams so she could easily understand what was going on inside her body and have an informed conversation with her doctor about her treatment plan.

“What we can achieve with Touchstone and preventative imaging is a twenty-fold reduction in the detection threshold, allowing us to see things much earlier, well before symptoms appear and well before they become untreatable. This helps people live longer and better.” says Dr. Mark Levandovsky, an oncology, hematology and internal medicine physician who founded Preventive Medicine and Cancer Care and refers patients to Touchstone. “Ninety percent of what happens to us can be changed. It’s not what we inherited from Mom and Dad. It is within our control and power to really make a difference.”

For a patient like Jenna, a referral to Touchstone helped diagnose sacroiliac joint dysfunction — reduced mobility in the pelvis — likely a result of pregnancy and childbirth when she was younger. After the mobility adjustments and physical therapy she was prescribed, Jenna’s pain is almost gone. Instead of shuffling to the end of her hikes or fidgeting in her bed at night, she’s looking forward to an active summer with her daughter before she goes to college. Perhaps most importantly, she now has a basis to understand her health and a plan of action should pain return. This time she won’t ignore it.

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