A Safe & Effective Diagnostic Tool
Dr. Sheps, DC DOES NOT use thermography to detect nerve impingements or "nerve irritation" or for monitoring the effect of chiropractic adjustments on subluxations.
Medical Thermography (digital infrared thermal imaging - DITI ) is used as a method of research for early preclinical diagnosis and control during treatment of homeostatic imbalances. There are few devices, which operate in a passive method like infrared Thermography medicine; amongst these are the ECG and EEG. The intrinsic safety of this method makes infrared Thermography free from any limitations or contraindications.
Thermography is a non-invasive, non-contact tool that uses the heat from your body to aid in making diagnosis of a host of health care conditions. Thermography is completely safe and uses no radiation.
This equipment usually has two parts, the IR camera and a standard PC or laptop computer. These systems have only a few controls and relatively easy to use.
Monitors are high-resolution full color, isotherm or grey scale, and usually include image manipulation, isothermal temperature mapping, and point-by-point temperature measurement with a cursor or statistical region of interest. The systems measure temperatures ranging from 10° C - 55° C to an accuracy of 0.1° C. Focus adjustment should cover small areas down to 75 x 75mm.
These systems are PC based and therefore able to store tens of thousands of images (and these images may be retrieved for later analysis). The ability to statistically analyse the thermograms at a later date is very important in clinical work. Copies of images can easily be sent (via e-mail, floppy disk, etc.) to referring doctors or other healthcare professionals.
The medical applications of DITI are extensive, particularly in the fields of Rheumatology, Neurology, Oncology, Physiotherapy and sports medicine. Thermal imaging systems are an economical easy-to-use tool for examining and monitoring patients quickly and accurately.
Utilizing high-speed computers and very accurate thermal imaging cameras, the heat from your body is processed and recorded in the computer into an image map which can then be analyzed on screen, printed or sent via email.
A doctor can then use the image map to determine if abnormal hot or cold areas are present. These hot and cold areas, can relate to a number of conditions for which the Food and Drug Administration, Bureau of Medical Devices has approved the thermography procedure. These include, the screening for breast cancer, extracranial vessel disease (head and neck vessels), neuro-musculo-skeletal disorders and vascular disease of the lower extremities. There have been a number of advancements in the past decade, which has brought thermal imaging in medicine back to the forefront of diagnosis. As technology has advanced, so has our "medical" concept of thermal imaging.
Indications of Diagnostic Use for Thermography
- Extracranial Vessel Disease
- Vertebrae (nerve problems/arthritis)
- Locomotors Disorders
- Lower Extremity Vessel Disease
- Lymphatic Dysfunctions
- Nervous Dysfunctions
- Vascular evaluation
- Tissue condition
- Muscle strain assessment
- Bleed point detection
Some of the common applications of Thermography
Extracranial Vessel Disease
In a similar way, a variety of conditions which relate to flow of blood through the vessels of the neck and head are readily accessed with thermal imaging. As the blood vessels in the face and skull are coursing through very thin tissue between the bones of the skull and the skin covering the skull, they are readily and easily visualized with thermal imaging.
As the vessels of the neck are very large calibre vessels, they too are very easily visualized with thermography and clues to the potential of developing vascular disease which might lead to stroke are a consideration when performing thermography.
The use of thermography in differentiation of various types of headache (migraine, cluster, cervical spine related), facial nerve injury as in the case of a blow to the face or a car accident where the face contacts a windshield or the steering wheel, the visualization of TMJ disorders (tempero-mandibular joint) are commonly used aspects of thermographic diagnosis and analysis of the head and neck.
The ability of thermal imaging to safely indicate the heat from sources in the jaw and teeth is providing a very exciting opportunity to screen individuals for dental decay and cavitations without routine screening X-rays. Also, a number of patients have been seen with heat signatures in the jaw related to amalgam fillings which might be toxic for that particular patient. This area of thermal imaging is very promising.
This is one of the clearest examples of thermography ability to accurately diagnose patients with a host of back, neck and extremity disorders. In fact, it was the use of thermography by chiropractors, neurologists and orthopaedists in the late 70's to the late 80's in spinal injury cases from car accidents and work injuries, which really launched the clinical interest in this diagnostic tool.
When muscle tissue is strained or torn, it releases chemicals which cause increased heat. This can be seen as intense patterns of hyperthermia in the region of the muscle, or trigger point, as in the case of fibromyalgia. Heat patterns can also be seen in the legs and soles of the feet which indicate altered gait or weight bearing mechanics, which might relate to a low back or foot condition.
Further, back strain produces very consistent heat patterns which not only tell us about the source of probable spinal injuries, but can also tell us about areas of spinal compensation, In effect, a low back might be being treated by a chiropractor, when the mid back or neck is actually the source of the problem. Nerve damage, as occurs in disc herniation and spinal nerve root compression displays on the thermographic map in exactly the opposite direction as muscle injury by revealing cool areas of hypothermia in the nerve tracts coming from the spine. In this way, thermography can demonstrate and document permanency of spinal injuries which are causing a person disability. This documentary, not diagnostic aspect of thermography has been used for many years in the trial courts to prove injury and assist in the rating of permanent impairment.
Infrared Thermography helps in the clinical evaluation and detection of serious and difficult disorders such as musculoskeletal syndromes, neuropathy, neurovascular compression, nerve injury, soft tissue injury, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, myofascial syndromes, inflammatory pain, and disk injury.
Lower Extremity Vessel Disease
The ability of thermography to detect the presence of deep vein thrombosis and other circulatory disorders of the lower extremities is a very exciting application of this procedure as it allows us to painlessly and safely detect possible disease that if unchecked, could cause the loss of a limb, or in some cases add to the possibility of stroke.
Infrared Thermography tests therapy effectiveness in severe cases of lymphoma, leukaemia and reliable to monitor lymphatic involvement in breast cancer patients.
Infrared Thermography analyses the brain, spinal cord and nerves, gives doctor a reliable and safe method of problem location and for monitoring improvements.
Dr. Sheps, DC Approach to Thermography
In addition to the applications listed above, Dr. Sheps, DC’ use of thermography is focused on research and development in advancing the effectiveness and patients’ outcomes of laser therapy. Dr. Sheps, DC DOES NOT use thermography to detect nerve impingements or "nerve irritation" or for monitoring the effect of chiropractic adjustments on subluxations.
What to Expect
It is just like taking a photograph.