Why you shouldn’t always get imaging right away.

  • Unless your chiropractor sees a “Red Flag” during your exam and history, the American Academy of Family Physicians does not recommend imaging for low back pain within the first 6 weeks.
  • Low back pain is the 5th most common reason for ALL physician visits, and imaging of the lower spine before 6 weeks does not improve outcomes but it will increase the cost of care.
  • Imaging exposes you to harmful radiation and “Patient labeling” (which studies show worsens the patient’s well-being.)
  • Studies have linked increased rates of imaging with an increased rate of back surgery. Those who have an early MRI are 8 times more likely to have surgery.

Key points about early imaging that isn’t necessary.

  • It’s going to cost you money that you didn’t need to spend.
  • Remember: Most cases will resolve with conservative care and without imaging.
  • Research and professional organizations don’t recommend early MRIs or X-rays.
  • In cases of uncomplicated low back pain, an MRI or X-ray will not improve the outcome of care.
  • Some imaging exposes you to harmful radiation.
  • You may experience the negative phenomenon known as “Patient labeling.”
  • You’re more likely to end up having surgery if you have early imaging.

Chiropractic for low back pain

If you’ve got low back pain, give us a call for a free 10-minute consultation or schedule an appointment so we can get to work on the problem that’s causing you pain. If it’s not something we can help with, we’ll refer you to someone that can help. Remember, don’t self-diagnose! Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider. Although most patients don’t require immediate imaging, there are some that do.