Physios ...are MRI reports of any value to us?!
Reference:Jensen MC et al 1994 Magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbar spine in people without back pain N Engl J Med. Jul 14;331(2):69-73.
This eye opening study examined the prevalence of abnormal findings on MRI scans of the lumbar spine in individuals without back pain.
Two neuroradiologists who did not know the clinical status of the subjects read the scans independently.
- 52% of the asymptomatic subjects had a disc bulge at at least one level
- 27% of the asymptomatic subjects had a disc protrusion at at least one level
- 1% of the asymptomatic subjects had an extrusion
- Only 36% of the asymptomatic subjects had normal discs at all levels
Study Conclusion: On MRI, many people without back pain have disc bulges or protrusions but not extrusions
Clinical Relevance: Clinicians should think twice before simply attributing a patient?s low back pain to what is seen on an MRI!
Although MRIs have increased the diagnostic capability of abnormality in the spine, there is no evidence that this imaging technique has improved the treatment of mechanical LBP.
Submitted By: Abbas Varamini, M.Phty (Manip), BSc.PT
Posted on: September 15, 2003
Categories: Lumbar Spine