Jenna is finally accustomed to the routine of working from home full time. Her youngest just graduated high school and she’s looking forward to finally becoming an empty nester. Despite all the recent changes that have slowed down her once hectic life, she still relishes an active calendar filled with brunch dates with her girlfriends; hiking with her dog; long weekends getaways with her partner (during which they get to pick the activities now, not their kids); and catching the occasional concert or two at Red Rocks. But recently, Jenna has noticed that the persistent ache in her lower back has worsened.
She used to ignore it. There were too many other things—too many other people—to care for. But the pain isn’t something she can avoid any longer: it is starting to impact her quality of life. At 52, Jenna has noticed her regular hikes are getting shorter and more infrequent. Her back and hips throb when she sits for too long. Sometimes, it spreads into a tingling feeling in her right toes. The over-the-counter medications she typically relies on are no longer easing the pain. She’s starting to worry she won’t be up for standing during those concerts she’s been looking forward to, exploring the weekend artisan fairs — one of her favorite summer activities —or make it through the long car ride to drop her daughter off at college in a few months.
Pain is our body’s warning siren, informing us that something is wrong. We’re trained from a young age to ‘walk it off’ or let it run its course. Which is fine when it comes to something innocuous like a small cut. It’s not such great advice when there’s something more serious happening 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 affliction is more prevalent among women and older adults. Even more people deal with less serious, but still life-affecting, bouts of pain.
The good news: You can take some control back when it comes to your body and health. Medical diagnostic imaging—think: CT and MRI scans—provides an extremely detailed internal view of your body’s structures. If done early enough, it can help doctors identify diseases and injuries before they become critical or impact your day-to-day life. Or it can guide treatment plans to help you live longer or more comfortably.
Touchstone Medical Imaging has 12 Front Range locations, including one near Jenna’s suburban Denver home. They’re staffed with board-certified, sub-specialty radiologists who are trained to analyze every part of your body, from your brain to joints to 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 like ultrasounds, X-rays, MRI, or CT scans.
Touchstone is in-network with more than 90 percent of insurance plans. Even better: The cost for these imaging services averages 40 to 60 percent less than imaging performed at the hospitals. Jenna’s family is now on high deductible health plan, and this appealed to her most. She was worried about the cost; it’s the main reason why she hadn’t sought answers earlier.
Providing Diagnostic Insights for Better Health
After speaking to her doctor, Jenna booked an MRI at Touchstone to get an understand of what was causing her back pain. Not only did her physician receive the MRI results within hours of her appointment, but Jenna also received online access to her radiology report in a patient-friendly format. The interactive interface uses lay person language and anatomical diagrams, so she was able to easily understand what was happening in her body and have an informed conversation with her doctor for her treatment plan.
“What we can do with Touchstone and prevention imaging is lower the threshold of detection twentyfold, so that we can catch things way earlier, way before symptoms arrive, and way before they are not treatable. This is helping people to live longer and better lives.” 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 is modifiable. It’s not what we’ve inherited from Mom and Dad. It’s within our control and power to really change.”
For a patient like Jenna, a referral to Touchstone helped to diagnose her with Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction – decreased mobility in the pelvis – likely a result of pregnancy and childbirth when she was younger. After her prescribed mobility adjustments and physical therapy, Jenna’s pain is almost gone. Instead of shuffling to the end of her hikes or restlessly fidgeting in her bed at night, she’s looking forward to an active summer with her daughter before she goes away to college. Perhaps most important, she now has a baseline for understanding her health, plus an action plan should any pain return. This time, she won’t ignore it.