MRI's, Xrays and more...

What are the chances of a physiotherapist quoting Joda as part of their therapeutic intervention... well actually quite high!

The distressed expression on the radiologist face was immediately obvious as she sat in the chair in front of me while holding the MRI scan… this was her own MRI. She had been experiencing neck and arm pain for just over a week and out of desperation got a MRI scan. The expression on her face had nothing to do with the pain intensity, but was rather the expression of fear that seated as soon as she identified a disc bulge on the imaging studies and started contemplating the future.

Her experience is far from abnormal with many patients becoming confused or bewildered due to medical jargon or by automatically reflecting on friends or families experiences. It is of utmost importance that individuals are aware that these types of findings on MRI are incredibly common even in the population who do not experience any pain. As healthcare providers we view a lot of these findings as mere ageing changes, similar to that what you would see if you take a closer look in the mirror.

I am not arguing that these studies are useless, but rather that some perspective is needed when interpreting the findings and especially when allowing the results to influence you state of mind.

Consider that you might need some perspective if you are completely distraught after reading your MRI, x-ray or sonar report and you could gain a lot by having the medical jargon explained to you and put into context through  a thorough physical evaluation. Call your physiotherapist for some much needed perspective!

Ps. you might be wondering what happened to the Radiologist? Some mobilisations and movement abolished her pain and restored her function… a little more education and information turned her into a JEDI!