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Three times this year, I've had doctors order xrays for my mom. All 3 times, I did not see a reason for the xray (there was a 4th time when my sister insisted I take her, I'm not including that one).
The problem seems to be, my mom will complain of how much her ankle or knee hurts, the doc will ask some questions, and my mom will continue to complain, and then the doc orders xrays.
And of course, all they ever find is "degenerative arthritis" meaning she is old and her joints are creaky, and it's not going to get better. She has had shots (cortisone) but that is limited to 2x/year. She also has rx for Naproxen but rarely takes it because of the warnings on the label.
I'm concerned as to how to avoid unnecessary medical bills on mom's limited resources.
How do I talk to doctors to avoid unnecessary xrays? If there is no brusing, swelling or signs of trauma, why do an xray?

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A friend of mine has been gluten free since the beginning of the year and has effortlessly been losing weight, her skin cleared up, she's not itchy and generally feels better. There are a lot of gluten free cookbooks, plus recipes on the internet.
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Vegaslady, great idea... I will pass that on to my Dad.

Tonight I was checking my local grocery store website to see what other gluten-free items the store offered... thought I would order a box of cookies for him to try. In fact, I might try some items myself :)
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Try toasting the gluten free bread.
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Tonight I was talking to my Dad [92] about his arthritis and he said he is feeling much better reason being a couple weeks ago Dad read a story about how wheat could be causing some arthritis so he had me get gluten-free bread to try....

Dad's not 100% gluten-free because this has been a learning curve for him as he didn't know what the muffins, his cereal, and cookies Mom usually get were made of wheat. Mom's not going to part with her wheat, so I hope she let's Dad cut down since it is making him feel so much better regarding the arthritis. His back, shoulders, and one knee are now pain free... still has one knee hurting.

Whether wheat is an issue with Dad or if this is just mind over matter, we shall see. Gluten-free bread is a required taste, Wonder bread flavor it is not.
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Like I said, a lot of it just goes away.
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Yes we both saw the xrays, all fine, just had arthritic changes.
Her Medicare does pay for most of the xray, it's not a cost issue.
The issue is, Mom seems to love going to the doctor, for the social aspect. She will also tell Sis (former paramedic, but it was so long ago, and she couldn't handle the rigors of the job, lasted maybe year) that she has aches & pains, and then Sis tells her she really needs to go to the Doc. Sigh. So then I get stuck damned if I do, damned if I don't (sorry for language) BUT if I take Mom to Doc, there's not anything wrong. Then I relay this info to Sis, and encourage her to trust me, whereupon Sis then gets insulted because after all, she is a former paramedic and of course she must be the expert you know.
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Oops. By "pictures" I meant the x-ray images - did mom ever get to see hers? I print off a lot of x-rays for my patients, because the reports alone are not as likely to help them understand a while lot better.
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Ooh Ooh I can answer that! We order x-rays because we do not have x-ray vision!
I wish I could put that on the forms I have to fill out for every x-ray - they all have to have a Reason, preferably a codable diagnosis, which I typically don't know before I get the x-ray. Maybe I'll try that someday...Reason: "I forgot my super 3-D x-ray glasses today." Sorry, I should be more serious, it's been a loooong day though.

I've unfortunately had the opposite experience. If my husband's doc had x-rayed his hips a little sooner, we might not have waited til he had bone on bone and no options besides hip replacement surgery at age 65. Grated, x-raying the same joint over and over again if nothing has changed makes no sense, and no test should be done unless it affects management and treatment decisions, or occasionally just so someone knows prognosis (what to expect) even if it turns out nothing much can be done.

Sorry the pictures are not as convincing as the warnings on the Naproxen label to your mom. Does she know its the same stuff as Aleve? There are some herbal OTC things that might work, and Tylenol is OK in reasonable dosage for most folks as well, and may work just as well. Sometimes a prescription non-steroidal like meloxicam is easier on the stomach, she might want to mention that next visit. And if there is a lot of worry about fractures, consider getting a bone densitometry (covered every 2 years or so if criteria are met) and treated for that if it's low.
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Just a reality check here...mom with dementia fell her first night in a new memory care unit, with two aides in the room. They ordered xrays, hip, pelvis, all checked out okay. Mom was aphasic due to a stroke. Pt kept working with her, but was not making any progress. Geriatric doc ( private, not the facility doc) dxed not just vascular dementia but alz as well and recommened hospice. After a week of pt not being able to get her to bear weight, pt threw a hissy fit and insisted on another hip xray. She had a break that was surgically repaired and is up and walking with a walker in snf. Still has vascular dementia, but is stable for the moment. And I ask again, are these not covered? Why not?
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Is it the same doctor that is ordering these x-rays?
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X-rays are also ordered to see if there are any hairline fractures. As we get older, it takes longer for such fractures to heal.
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Are the xrays not covered by insurance or Medicare? Re warning labels, someoneneeds to explain to mom that when yyou've reached a certain age, you have to take sone of those warnings with a grain of salt. If she's in pain from arthritis, she should be getting adequate pain relief.
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The MD will have to do the xray unless you tell him not to do it. It's called due diligence.
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So you can see on the inside what is not on the outside. Really, talk to the doctor and tell him you're not going to follow thru and do the x-ray. My husband has various complaints and gets referred for tests which he doesn't other with. The complaints usually just go away. .
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