According to arthritistoday magazine, this year, millions of procedures and prescriptions will be ordered in an effort to assuage low back pain, and sadly, few will help.
Sufferers go to their doctors in agony, frustrated and unable to move, not doing anything doesnt usually seem like good option to either party. So it has become common for doctors to send low back pain patients for an MRI scan to find the cause.
The problem is that many people have some wear and tear in their spines that doesnt usually cause discomfort. In one study, one in three adults over age 60 had herniated or slipped disks detected by an MRI but no back pain.
If you did this scan on somebody who just complained of back pain after gardening over the weekend, youd be sorely tempted to assume that something [you see in the scan] has to explain this persons pain, says Richard Deyo, MD, a family medicine physician and deputy issue of the journal Spine.
That may explain why people who get MRIs for low back pain have twice as much surgery but exactly the same outcome as those who dont get scanned. Thank goodness MRI scans were not around when I had my first spinal operations.