You Are NOT Your MRI!- Imaging LIES and Can Be Harmful for Disc Herniations and Low Back Pain
Updated: Jan 27, 2022
Low back pain is the #1 disability in the world and the way it is approached isn't helping. Often individuals with low back pain are sent for imaging prematurely and are informed that the findings on their MRI are the cause for their pain. This isn't always the case and can actually be harmful! Many times we can have things show up on imaging that are not related to the individual's pain, but the scary images and scary words cannot be unseen.
"OH NO! I HAVE A DISC HERNIATION!!!"
Disc herniations are one of the most common findings on an MRI for low back pain, but does it matter? We often think that if we hear the word "disc herniation" that we are destined for pain, and surgery is a must. This is simply not true! In fact, many people without any low back pain have disc herniations!
This graph shows that disc herniations can be quite normal! The issue here is that many people with very common low back pain may receive premature imaging and blame their pain on these common and normal findings. This misleads both the individual and the provider as to what the proper management should be.
Let's Evaluate YOU and Not a Picture of You.
Evaluating you- your movement, what makes you better, what makes you worse, your lifestyle, your job requirements, and your fears and beliefs towards your back pain- is going to be much more helpful than simply looking at a picture instead. The issue here is that most people are not properly evaluated and rather judged solely on the picture. This creates a very poor and ineffective approach towards care.
Imaging Isn't Always the Problem, but the Education on the Image Is
Sometimes imaging is necessary to rule out scary things. Therefore the issue isn't always the image itself, but the education on the image. As long as we are able to explain the intention of the image, and educate the individual on the very normal age related findings then the amount of harm this image can cause drastically reduces. Words can be scary and the more we can decrease the threat of these words the less harmful they will be.
You CAN Recover!
The good news is that you can recover from disc herniations and other kinds of low back pain. The first step is a proper assessment! Find someone you trust that is properly trained in evaluating individuals with low back problems that can accurately assess your movement and get you on a path to success.
I help people with low back issues recover without drugs or surgery through 1:1 online coaching.
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Thanks for reading and please share with a friend that needs to hear this!