Surgery for a disc problem?
Over half of normal adults with no symptoms will have a disc problem show on their MRI. Although each case is different, most problems respond well to conservative therapies such as chiropractic and massage. It’s your body. View surgery as a LAST resort.
Research shows: A bad disc on an MRI doesn’t always mean back surgery.
“Your MRI shows a disc problem. You need back surgery.”
Thousands of people are told these words and have surgery. However, over half of normal adults with no symptoms will have a disc problem show on their MRI. Although each case is different, most problems respond well to conservative therapies such as chiropractic and massage. It’s your body. View surgery as a LAST resort.
Here’s what the scientists say:
*Up to 90% of all spinal MRIs can be read as abnormal say experts even in the complete absence of symptoms. Similarly, many abnormalities seen on CT & Xray films have no clinical manifestations. D’Espiro, N (contributing editor). Patient Care 1998;
*About 30% of a-symptomatic subjects show abnormalities in the lumbar spine by myelogram, CT & MRI. There is a large percent of symptomatic patients with severe complaints in whom testing fails to reveal any structural lesion. Haldeman, DC, PhD, MD. Spine 1990;15(7):718-723.
*On xray studies, alarming abnormalities are found in pain-free people. Even the best imaging tests fail to identify simple muscle spasm or injured ligament probably responsible for pain in a substantial percent of back pain patients. Deyo RA, MD, MPH. Low back pain. Scientific American 1998; August:4853.
*The vast majority of people with back and neck pain have muscular pain from scarring & trauma to the muscles. Muscular pain doesn’t image. It doesn’t show up on a CT scan. Muscle will image on MRI, but painful muscle doesn’t look different from non-painful muscle. So surgeons are sort of taught to look through that to look at bony anatomy & neuroanatomy (e.g. the discs) Weinstein J, MD. Spine Letter 1997; 4(9): 46. Haddox, MD, president elect of the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM)