Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Should You Have An MRI for Back Pain?

"The over utilization of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in low back pain is well established and numerous guidelines have been developed to educate clinicians on when appropriate imaging is warranted.  Unfortunately MRIs for acute low back pain continue to be one of the most over utilized imaging modalities.  This is driven not just by the provider side but also by patient expectation and desires to "do something."  I believe one of the most important roles of a physical therapist is to educate patients by managing expectations and reframing their belief system on what pictures tell us.  I frequently use the phrase "that is just a wrinkle on the inside" when discussing the common MRI findings that are not consistent with a patient's presentation.  As you know wrinkles do not hurt but are outward signs of aging, we also have inward signs of aging (normal age related changes) that show as disk bulges, herniations, spondylosis, etc." - Tim Flynn, PT, PhD.   

If you have low back pain and you think you need an MRI to "know what is wrong" or "find the best treatment" you may be wrong.  Please watch this Video and pass it on!

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