A lot of patients have a misconception of that herniated discs or other degenerative changes revealed by MRI are major causes of back pain. Many people who learn of these structural changes will assume it is the cause of their pain and start to consider surgery as a solution. However, large number of studies have proven that many types of structural abnormalities are poor predictors of back pain.
In a study done by Jensen et al, MRIs were performed on subjects who did not have back pain. 52% percent of the subjects had at least one bulging disc or other MRI abnormality for which surgery is sometimes recommended. In another study by Boden et al, MRIs on individuals who had never suffered from low back pain revealed that one third had a substantial spinal abnormality and 20% under the age of 60 had a herniated disc. This is not to say that herniated discs cannot cause pain. Of course they can, and you would rather have less damage than more. But if a large percentage of pain free people have bulging discs, then how likely is it that a bulging disc is the cause of your back pain? Don’t assume that whatever shows up on the MRI is the source of your pain. Therefore, It is important to get yourself assessed and co-relate the pain with clinical findings and not just assume whatever is seen in the MRI. A better way forward is getting yourself assessed by our physiotherapists with the help of body scan assessment and follow an effective rehab plan for at least 6 weeks before commencing for surgery.
At Prehab 121 Physiotherapy our focus is always towards helping our clients get the preventive care approach before thinking of surgery as an option.