Low back pain is actually the most common complaint patients visit their doctor for. If you have had lower back pain for some time then an MRI of your lower back may be recommended. But, is having an MRI of your lower back helpful. Let explore this topic.
There are many positives and advantages to having an MRI of your lower back. An MRI gives us the ability to view and see the soft tissues, disks, bone, nerves, muscles, spinal cord, and many other structures. An x-ray only allows us to see the bone. Thus, the MRI is very helpful in allowing us to evaluate more tissues. There are several possibilities of findings on an MRI:
All of this information also has its downside. The downside is that with all this information it can make it difficult to determine which finding on the MRI is causing your lower back pain. Is your pain coming from a disk bulge, spinal stenosis, degenerative disk disease, etc. The results of a recent study will make this more clear.
Lower Back Pain, Disk Bulges, & MRI’s
A group of researchers wanted to evaluate the lower backs of individuals that did not have any lower back pain. Thus, they took 1,000 individuals (males and females) who did not have lower back pain and performed an MRI on their respective lower backs. The results surprised the researchers. The study found uncovered the following results:
- 53% of individuals had disk bulges but no lower back pain
- 31% had herniated disks but no lower back pain
- 18% had extruded herniated disks but no lower back pain
What does this mean? It means that anywhere from 57-64% of the population has some type of disk problem but no lower back pain. Thus, you may have a disk problem on your MRI report and it is not the cause of your lower back pain. However, that may be the focus of your treatment. The cause of your lower back pain may be less complex. The cause of your lower back pain may be from the vertebrae being misaligned which causes the muscles in your lower back to tighten up and cause pain. Thus, it is often recommended to do a short treatment trial of chiropractic relief care before obtaining an MRI. In many cases the MRI will not be needed as your lower back pain will improve.
If you are suffering from lower back pain or have been told you have disk bulges, call our office today at 651-779-5998 to set up a free no-obligation for care consultation. We serve many patients in Roseville, MN, Saint Paul, MN, Arden Hills, MN, Shoreview, MN, and Falcon Heights, MN.