(1) MRI Scans can be misleading and are rarely needed for Back Pain.
Both healthcare professionals and members of the public often consider getting a scan “just in case” there is something serious involved in their pain.
However, all the evidence suggests scans only show something truly important in a tiny minority (<5%) of people with back pain.
When people have scans for back pain, the scans often show up things that are poorly linked with pain.
In fact, studies have shown that even people who don’t have back pain have things like bulging discs (52% of people), degenerated or black discs (90%), herniated discs (28%) and ‘arthritic’ changes visible (38%).
Remember, these people do NOT have pain!
Unfortunately, people with back pain are often told that these things indicate their back is damaged, and this can lead to further fear, distress and avoidance of activity.
The fact is that many of these things reported on scans are more like baldness or wrinkles – an indication of ageing and genetics that do not have to be painful.