Research Shows MRI’s are NOT Reliable for Neck or Back Pain

Research Shows MRI’s are NOT Reliable for Neck or Back Pain

This comes up a lot in my office. We had a patient come into the office this week and they had been to other healthcare providers who were not able to help and said they needed to get an MRI…

They spoke to one of our past patients who said, you need to come into see the staff at mPower Physical Therapy in Dallas. She came in asking if an MRI would help us out.

We said no. It really won’t help us and this is why…

Did you know that a person who is pain free and not having any problems at all- will show problems on an MRI?  

Actually, when you read research after research on MRI’s, they show anywhere between 60-80% of NORMAL PAIN FREE people will show Degeneration, herniated disc, Arthritis, smaller disc space, etc.

Yes, that is right 60-80% of NORMAL PEOPLE will show something on an MRI. The number goes up as we age. Just like we get wrinkles on our face as we age and that is the normal aging process; degenerative changes are also a part of the aging process.

When you get an MRI when you are hurting, is that something that is a problem.  We do not know unless you get a thorough evaluation by a specialist. We like to say, and MRI is an expensive selfie.

The other problem is that where the site of the pain is not often where the source of the pain is located. For example, we have had patients that only had calf pain…

They got an MRI on the calf which showed nothing. They came into our office. We asked a few questions to find out that his calf pain was coming from his back.

We also had a patient that had shoulder pain. They got an MRI on their shoulder and it showed a partial RTC tear. They came into our office and they had a neck problem. Once we address their neck, they no longer had shoulder pain.

You cannot replace a thorough evaluation from a specialist. MRI’s did not guide us in our treatment recommendation.

With all this above being said, we do like to send patients for further testing when there are red flag signs. We are trained as physical therapist to recognized red flags.

In fact, we spend so much time with our patients, we often find them with doctors miss them because of the time we spend with patients. Red flags only happen 1% of the time.

If you do get recommended to get and MRI by a medical professional, then you can ask questions and make a decision that you will feel comfortable with.

The question we tell you to ask your doctor when they recommend an MRI is will the MRI change your treatment course you are going to recommend?

If it was not going to change the treatment course because they just wanted to take a closer look, I would pass.

If you would like to just talk to one of our PT’s to learn more about your situation or pick our brain on what is going on with you, Then CLICK HERE and you can set up a time to speak to one of our Specialist. We do this to learn more about you and help guide you in your decision on your next steps with your injury.

We have limited spots so do not delay in CLICKING HERE to reserve your spot to speak to one of our specialists!!

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