When Should You Have an MRI for Back Pain? Risks and Benefits Analysis
MRI is a powerful tool, which has proven to be extremely advantageous in medical science. It is an open question for all of us that what is the right time for anyone to undergo an MRI for back pain? In most cases, the better option is to go later, rather than sooner.
In most of the cases, when an MRI scan is done, it usually shows those abnormalities in the back that have nothing to do with the basic cause of the pain. Usually, with age, our spine starts showing the signs of regular wear and tear such as disk degeneration and arthritis of joints. Hence, any pain condition which goes by its self in less than two months usually does not require a dramatic intervention or procedure such as MRI.
According to physicians at the New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases, if you do MRI scans for middle-aged patients who have no back issue, even then one-third of them are going to have abnormal MRIs.
The use of MRI is on the rise because it does not expose the body to radiation, whereas CT scans and X-ray do. Thus, it is considered a safe method to be used for females who are of childbearing age and have back pain issues.
Most physicians are of the view that MRI scans are a slippery path to surgical rooms. According to a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist, it is a well-known fact that soon after MRIs became famous among doctors for diagnosing the back problems, there were a lot of ‘’normal’’ abnormals. This abnormal MRIs of the normal backs give the doctors something to operate on. Thus, thus they are making money using this drawback to their advantage.
The easiest solution for a new patient with back pain is to inculcate regular exercise in their lifestyle, take over-the-counter painkillers and give time to the pain to go away. If the pain does not go away for two consecutive months and by instilling all the required changes in the lifestyle, then, of course, a serious action plan is needed. There is absolutely no need to go for an MRI scan on the very first visit. Most back pain problems go away with basic treatment within four to six weeks.
However, there are many other problems that do not resolve and thus need immediate attention and proper treatment and care. One of the conditions is sciatica nerve or spinal stenosis.
The important thing to consider for all physicians and patients is that it is important to treat the patient as a whole rather than looking at the MRI and other test results. It is crucial that physicians and medical health professionals must have an eye on the causes of the pain and lifestyle of the patient. They should try to make the patients aware of the unhealthy lifestyles that can damage their back. Moreover, they should also try to teach them healthy activities that will certainly have a positive effect on their back issues and general health status.