When Your MRI is Normal, But You Aren’t
When you’re suffering from cognitive issues—whether it’s memory loss, trouble concentrating, or confusion—and you desperately want answers, you may visit a neurologist to determine if your problems stem from your brain. If you do, it’s likely the neurologist will send you for an MRI brain imaging test.
But what happens when your neurologist says your MRI looks normal and sends you home even though your bothersome symptoms persist? Or what if they tell you that your symptoms are all in your head? It can make you feel like you’re losing your mind.
News flash: Your problems are all in your head—in the way your brain functions!
When it comes to your emotional well-being and your behavior, MRI is not the best brain imaging tool. An MRI can’t give you the answers you want because it doesn’t provide any information on how the brain functions. It only reveals problems with the brain’s structure, such as brain tumors, inflammation, or swelling.
Think Function, Not Form
Functional brain imaging technology, such as SPECT, reveals how your brain works. This nuclear medicine study measures blood flow and activity in the brain and reveals 3 key things:
- Areas of the brain with healthy activity
- Areas of the brain with too much activity
- Areas of the brain with too little activity
SPECT can be helpful in assessing what is happening in the brain in relation to behavior and emotional issues. This functional brain imaging study can reveal brain patterns associated with dementia, head injuries, ADD/ADHD, anxiety, depression, addictions, infections, exposure to toxins, and more.
You Deserve Answers
If you have had an MRI that was normal, but you don’t feel normal, don’t give up hope. Keep seeking answers.
Here are 5 tips to help you find out what’s bothering you.
1. Find a practitioner who uses functional brain imaging.
Functional brain scans, such as SPECT scans, can help identify brain patterns associated with a variety of cognitive and mental problems. Seeing your brain scan can also decrease shame and stigma because it allows you to realize that your problems are biological, not psychological. It helps you understand that you are not imagining your symptoms, and they are not your fault.
2. Seek help from an integrative medicine physician who will check for biological causes of cognitive function problems.
Cognitive dysfunction can be related to a number of physical health issues, including hormonal imbalances, infections (such as Lyme disease), inflammation, exposure to toxins, diabetes, and low blood flow. An integrative medicine practitioner can address these physical problems to improve overall brain health.
3. Look for a health provider who is knowledgeable about how nutrition affects brain health.
What you eat has a direct and dramatic effect on your psychological wellbeing and cognitive function. Unfortunately, most medical students and psychiatry students receive little to no training in nutrition. Finding someone who can provide nutrition coaching and information on nutraceuticals targeted to your individual needs can lead to significant improvements.
4. Consider a healthcare professional who offers complementary therapies.
5. Choose a provider who thinks skills, not just pills.
Finding a psychotherapist or psychiatrist who can give you the tools you need, rather than simply giving you a prescription for medication can help you in the long run. Medications can be an important part of a treatment plan, but they should not be the first and only option recommended.
Amen Clinics has built the world’s largest database of functional brain scans related to emotional, behavioral, and learning issues and utilizes brain SPECT imaging as part of a comprehensive evaluation. SPECT scans allow us to more accurately diagnose and more effectively treat our patients.
Learn more about how a brain scan and a personalized treatment program that includes optimizing your biological, psychological, social, and spiritual factors can help you overcome cognitive issues. Find out how we can help you by calling 888-288-9834 or schedule a visit.