Free MRI Review
MRI scans aren’t normally the first option for those who come into the office with pain in the lower back. Often times, the main cause of pain in the lower back is nothing more than a simple muscle strain or a strained ligament. It’s not unusual for these strains and stresses to heal without additional treatment after about six weeks maximum, but most are healed within a month’s time.
If the pain doesn’t show signs of improvement after about a month or so, an MRI scan is often ordered. These scans are used to establish the cause of the pain. It might be because the patient is suffering from the symptoms associated with sciatica, which is where the sciatic nerve is under pressure and the pain radiates from the nerve through the leg. Even though the condition is quite simple to diagnose, it tends to be a lot more difficult to determine what is causing the pressure on the nerve to begin with. It’s here that an MRI scan proves quite beneficial. MRI scans show causes than an x-ray cannot reveal.
Causes of Pressure on Sciatic Nerves
Often the main cause of pressure on the sciatic nerve is due to a disc within the spine protruding or rupturing, which is often termed a herniated disc. Arthritis can also cause the nerve to get trapped. The other main cause of lower back pain is related to spinal stenosis, which is a condition where the spinal canal will narrow to various degrees. This results in the nerves and spinal cord being compressed. The cause of stenosis can be the result of a herniated disc, but it might also be related to the aging process.
Usefulness of MRI Scans
Numerous pieces of information exist about how MRI scans aren’t useful. For example, out of 100 people who suffered with pain in the lower back, only five of those individuals actually had a serious illness or nerve disorder. So, the argument exists that if 100 people were to have an MRI, only 5 percent of those individuals would actually be diagnosed with a serious medical condition. This is why they claim that 95 percent of those scans provide no benefit.
This argument should also be viewed in context. MRI scans can be quite costly, so they are only ordered when they feel as if there is a significant benefit to be gained from having one. When these scans were first introduced, patients would often go in and request to have one performed when the doctor didn’t feel anything would be gained from having one done. The limitations for this procedure was broadcast in an attempt to make sure they weren’t used extensively.
Yet, MRI scans can show whether there is any soft tissue damage which cannot be seen on a standard x-ray. This is extremely beneficial for those who are trying to determine the best treatment option. Even though a scan isn’t always deemed necessary, it might provide significant benefits to those who are having trouble determining what the underlying cause of the pain truly is.
Having an MRI review will show you any underlying conditions quickly and make sure you know what the next step to be taken is. These scans aren’t just used for everyone, but they are used when needed. A medical professional will know when you need to have one of these scan done and when you need to have other tests performed. An MRI will help you find the underlying cause of your pain and allow the provider to get you on track to relief and freedom from pain quickly and efficiently.