Back Pain: Do You Need an MRI?
A common belief regarding back pain is that an MRI is always needed for proper evaluation and treatment.
But do MRI add any value in deciding the best treatment plan?
Current research shows that many spine MRI findings like degeneration and disc bulges are normal signs of aging and they should not be considered threatening as they are found in healthy individuals without back pain too.
Moreover, in some cases an MRI can be detrimental to the patient's recovery if it creates fear of movement and negative thoughts.
So spine MRI often don't add value to the treatment plan and they should only be used if a serious pathology is suspected.
Some of the red flags that might indicate a serious pathology are: traumatic injury, unexpected weight loss, high fever, history of cancer and loss of bladder function.
If you are not sure about what's causing your back pain, consult a doctor or a physiotherapist.