Should I be having a scan for my lower back pain, or not?

One in six Australians experience ongoing back pain. Many people have imaging such as X-ray, CT or MRI scans to look for a cause. What is often not fully understood, is that often imaging does not always correlate with symptoms and thus doesn’t always influence the direction of treatment. 

For example, research shows that most 50 year olds, with no history of lower back pain, will have disc bulges shown on an MRI scan. Medical literature has demonstrated that just because our body is in pain, a scan, does not always reflect why our body is experiencing that pain.  We know that spinal pain, can be influenced by other factors in our lives, such as; our previous levels of back pain, other health conditions, certain stressors and behaviors.

In some cases, it is important to have imaging done to help identify specific structures and alter the direction of treatment accordingly. It is best to always consult with your health professional and undergo a thorough musculoskeletal Physiotherapy assessment. During this assessment, a physical exam will involve observing patterns of movement, strength, posture, mobility and nerve function.  

Physiotherapy treatment for disc injuries may involve;

Soft tissue release of tight, overactive muscles

Joint and disc mobilisation

Dry needling or acupuncture

Strapping / bracing 

Exercise based rehabilitation

Fortunately, most disc injuries will respond well to conservative treatment from a Physiotherapist. At Physio One, it is our goal to work with you throughout your rehabilitation and help to establish good routines and work towards your personal goals.

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