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Why X-Rays and MRIs Are Not Good for Back Pain

With back pain affecting millions of Americans, it is no surprise that many doctors are trying to find the cause and cure for the pain. Many doctors and even some chiropractors rely on the use of routine scans, such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans. However, according to a study done in 2009, these routine scans were not only unnecessary but carried risks of side effects.

The study was done by Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. The researchers followed about 1,800 people who had lower back pain. The researchers found that those patients who did not exhibit serious underlying causes of back pain were to still given an image scan right away. However, even with the image scanning, they did not do any better than those who received standard treatment without the diagnostic tests.

While image scanning can be very useful in detecting arthritis, fractures, herniated discs, and muscle injuries. However, majority of individuals with back pain do not have these issues. The problem lies with the doctors that don’t look for underlying signs of additional problems, but instead, they just send patients to get these tests done.

The Problem with X-Rays and MRI Scans

Like mentioned earlier, there is a place for diagnostic tests, and they are certainly useful when needed. However, for average back pain, they can be extremely costly, for both the individual and overall health care resources.

These diagnostic tests are not done without risks either. The radiation from X-rays and CT scans are known for their cancer risks. Women are at a higher risk when they get their lower back scanned because it exposes the ovaries to radiation.

How to Avoid Image Scanning

If your doctor or chiropractor wants to do these diagnostic tests, simply ask, “What is the pressing reason for these tests?” If your doctor cannot give you a good answer, then there is a good chance the test is unnecessary. Share your desire to seek back pain care without the use of diagnostic tools, unless there are more serious underlying issues that need to be researched further.

The Joint is one chiropractic place that does not rely on image scanning and diagnostic tests. We know that they are not essential in treating common back pain problems and that our wellness adjustments can fix a myriad of pain problems because they address postural issues and misalignment issues in the spine.

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