• Common assumptions about MRI’s for spine patients:

    Common assumptions about MRI’s for spine patients:

    MRI scans have become extremely common for people with low back problems. They have the ability to show bone and soft tissue.  The sensitivity of MRI’s causes them to show many abnormalities that have little relevance to the patient’s symptoms. This causes confusion and many times inappropriate or unnecessary treatment. 70% of people with no back symptoms have MRI’s that show bulging and/ or herniated discs. There are also patients who have severe back symptoms and they have normal MRI’s.

  • Is it unsafe to begin physical therapy without one?

    Is it unsafe to begin physical therapy without one? 

    Research supports that a good mechanical assessment by a certified and skilled MDT clinician can best determine the probability of a patient responding to specific care. It will also indicate if a patient is inappropriate and should be referred elsewhere. Conditions that would get worse with treatment are quickly identified and are not treated.

  • Will treatment be more effective with MRI results?

    Will treatment be more effective with MRI results?

    An MRI does not have the ability to determine how a patient will respond to treatment, or what treatment will be the most effective. An evaluation by a highly skilled and trained MDT clinician does have the ability to determine the most effective type of treatment. Current research supports that care under the skilled supervision an MDT clinician will have the best outcomes.

  • References:

    References

    Long A. Donelson R, and Fung T., Does it matter which exercise? A randomized controlled trial of exercise for low back pain.  Spine 2004.29(23) p.2593-2602

    Boden S, Davis D, and Dina T, Abnormal magnetic-resonance scans of the lumbar spine in asymptomatic subjects: a prospective investigation.  Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 1990.72 p. 403-8

    Boos N, et al., The diagnostic accuracy of magnetic resonance imaging, work perception, and psychosocial factors in identifying symptomatic disc herniations.  Spine 1995.20 (24):p.2613-25.

    Donelson R, Silva G, and Murphy K, The centralization phenomenon: its usefulness in evaluating and treating referred pain.  Spine, 1990.15 (3):p211-13