The Problem with MRIs for Low Back Pain

October 1st, 2019
mri-scans

There are many reasons why you may experience lower back pain. It is the most commonly reported source of pain across the United States, and it can range from mild to severe. Anything that causes the spine’s anatomy to change can result in back pain, such as sciatica, lumbar disc herniation, lumbar degenerative disc disease, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, or osteoarthritis. It can also occur from overuse, injury, or excessive strain.

Whatever the case may be, physical therapy is the most effective method of pain relief for an aching back.  To learn more about how we can help you get back to living your normal, pain-free life, contact Recovery Physical Therapy today!

Why MRIs aren’t ideal:

When consulting with a primary physician for back pain, it is likely they will want to conduct a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test. With an MRI, the idea is that your doctor will be able to clearly see your soft tissues, ligaments, tendons, and blood vessels, in order to determine where your back pain is stemming from.

However, studies actually suggest that MRIs are not necessary with the treatment of back pain. They are expensive, it takes a long time to get the results, and (to be quite blunt), they waste the patient’s time while they are waiting for the results. So, why do MRIs still persist?

Essentially, it is the “easier” procedure – the tests do not take long to do and patients are sent home to wait afterward. However, this does not mean that it is the most efficient procedure.

When experiencing back pain, it is important for patients to know that the pain likely will not subside on its own. The best thing to do when living with back pain is to stay active, get daily exercise, and limit your bed rest – yes, you read that correctly!

While bed rest is commonly recommended by doctors in the interim while waiting for MRI results, it can actually make the pain worse. Exercise keeps your muscles warm and your body limber, while bed rest can cause you to stiffen up.

Physical therapists know this – they are movement experts, who are highly trained in the most advanced and innovative methods for natural pain relief. If you are seeking low back pain relief in New York, don’t hesitate to contact Recovery Physical Therapy today!

Why physical therapy is ideal:

Physical therapy is the best way to treat your back pain – we won’t put you through unnecessary tests, we’ll treat your pain at its source, and we’ll get you started on your treatment plan ASAP. The goals and expected outcomes of physical therapy for low back pain include:

  1. Decreased pain and stiffness. By using passive treatments such as manual therapy, your physical therapist will help alleviate pain in the affected area and accelerate the healing process.
  2. Prevention of further issues. By learning proper body mechanics, you can avoid future injuries and prevent pain from recurring.
  3. Increased range of motion. Your physical therapist will implement flexibility exercises into your treatment plan, which will help increase the range of motion in your back.
  4. Improved strength. Your physical therapist will create a specific exercise plan for your particular needs, which will aid in the strengthening of muscles in the affected area.
  5. Improved quality of life. Physical therapy can help you return to your normal routine much quicker, allowing for an overall improvement in quality of life.

If you are living with lower back pain, schedule an appointment with our expert physical therapists in New York, NY today! We’ll treat your pain the right way, so you can get back to living your life comfortably.