You Are More Than Your MRI

Just as the other 31 million Americans at any given time (NEJM), you begin experiencing back pain so you go to your primary care physician. They do X-Rays and MRI’s to come to a diagnosis. You get a phone call to come in and discuss the results, and often times leave feeling as if you’re broken due to words you really don’t understand. 
What if I told you you are NOT your MRI? What if I told you you are NOT broken? 
The human body is amazing! Amazing, and at times, inconsistent. Mechanically, we are all generally similar in the sense that our heads are attached to our shoulders. However, when you dig deeper than that, you start to see changes because we are not perfectly uniform to what our anatomy “SHOULD” be. 
So your imaging result shows an “abnormality”. BUT did you know that up to 64% of people with an abnormality in their imaging actually have NO pain?(NEJM) WHAT?! Yes, it’s true! Take a look at this graph from a recent 2014 study showing abnormal results in healthy, pain free individuals.  
Pay close attention to the ages, and what is commonly found on their imaging results. Crazy, right!? So what does this mean? 

Being that these people are pain free with a diagnosis you may have just gotten, it is likely that your pain is NOT due to the findings of your imaging! It is also important to note that although your pain may be worse today than yesterday, your imaging result was likely* the same both days, meaning that these visible changes are not the sole cause of your pain. 

This is where physical therapists step in. Imaging or not, physical therapy has the tools to get you feeling better. Aside from the extremely rare exception of surgery being the only option for treatment, treatment is pretty similar for these conditions across the board: pain relief and function restoration. There are many treatment modalities including, but not limited to, manual therapy, stretching, traction, TENS, and exercises. Exercises will focus on stabilizing your core and general strength which is important for your body as a whole. When we say restore your daily function, we are saying we will give you the strength and mobility so you’re able to go back to living your daily life without limitations. 
As always, if you are experiencing pain consult with a professional. You are more than the results of your MRI/X-ray/CT. Physical therapy will treat the patient and their symptoms, not simply the imaging result. So don’t be discouraged, we are here to help!
The mission of Physical Therapy consultants, Inc. is to provide you the care you want and the results you need to help you live the life you deserve. 
Alyssa Hart
Clinic Coordinator 
Physical Therapy Consultants 

July 12th, 2017

Posted In: General

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