February 7, 2018

Have you previously had findings from an x-ray or MRI that caused you concern?  Once serious medical conditions have been ruled out, minor findings have little or no value in explaining the majority of our aches and pains.  Research shows that, in absence of medical "red flags", routine imaging may cause more harm than good, by leading to psychological distress.  Findings on medical imaging, such as x-ray, MRI, CT and ultrasound, can seem scary, but it is important to avoid becoming a VOMIT (Victim of Medical Imaging Technology)!   VOMITs suffer fear that leads them to seek more doctor's visits, experience pain longer, suffer more disability and a lower sense of well being.  See the infographic for detail, or read the summary below. 




Don't be a VOMIT!


Do not panic if your spine x-ray or MRI shows "problems" with your discs - degeneration, bulges and tears can be normal changes. 





Various studies of upper and lower backs in people without pain have found:

  • Disc degeneration -  adults (47%), aged 50-55 (90%), aged 20-22 (48%) 

  • Disc bulges - adults (53%), aged 20-22 (25%)

  • Disc tears -  adults (58%)

  • 29% even had a disc bulge that was deforming their spinal cord....without symptoms!

  • No link between degenerative changes seen on imaging and low back pain. 

Do not blame your neck pain on disc degeneration and bulges!

  • 98% of people without neck pain showed degenerative disc changes on MRI

  • up to 70% of healthy, pain free young adults have disc bulges

  • MRI findings were similar among people who have had a neck whiplash injury and those who have not, even at a 10-year follow up - 3/4 show cervical disk bulges

Do not panic if your hip or knee imaging shows degeneration, arthritis, joint narrowing, or mild cartilage tears - these are not signs of permanent pain or disability.  Studies of people without pain in the hip or knee show:

  • hip and groin abnormalities on MRI - 77% of hockey players

  • knee arthritis on x-ray - 85% of adults 

  • meniscal damage on MRI - 48% of pro basketball players

Rotator cuff tear? Do not panic! Studies show that even without pain, rotator cuff tears are common in adults (35%), those aged over 60 (50%), and professional baseball pitchers (40%). 

Don't fret about a heel spur!  1/3 of all people without foot pain have them.


Do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with one of our therapists if you have imaging results that concern you, and you would like to learn ways to manage pain, exercise and keep active! 


CLICK HERE for our book online, or call the office at 506-847-7263.


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