What your MRI can tell you about your pain… And what it can't tell you - Indianapolis Fitness And Sports Training

What your MRI can tell you about your pain… And what it can’t tell you

written by Bill Hartman

MRI of the lumbar spine with a herniated disc

You may have had pain for a very long time. It’s not uncommon for your doctor to order an MRI to help determine the source of your ongoing complaints of pain.

In the hopes of finding a cause for the pain it’s not uncommon to default to the findings in an MRI as that source of pain. Perhaps they blame arthritis or a herniated disc in your spine for your back pain. Perhaps they find a torn meniscus in your knee and blame that on your knee pain. Perhaps they find a muscle tear and blame that for your pain.

Unfortunately, in many cases these MRI findings have nothing to do with why you still have pain. Often they are incidental findings that may have been present long before you ever had pain.

In fact, the longer you’ve had pain less likely it is that any changes in structure of a joint, a ligament, spinal disc, or muscle is the source of your pain.

It’s quite common to find structural changes on an MRI that are quite distant from your areas of complaint. Research also shows that there are many cases of extensive structural changes found on MRIs performed on groups of people that are pain-free. Changes in your spine, your knees, your shoulders, your neck, and your muscles are normal consequences of aging.

It is imperative that these MRI findings are correlated with effective objective testing before you undergo any surgical procedures or before you give up after a failed therapeutic intervention.

If you’ve had pain for a long time or still have pain even after surgery that promised to resolve your pain, you may be an ideal candidate for IFAST physical therapy. We specialize in patients that have been told that there’s nothing that they can do to help their pain. Even if you’ve tried physical therapy before you’ll find a difference with IFAST physical therapy.

We realize that it’s difficult to believe that IFAST physical therapy can help you when you may have been told there’s nothing that you can do, so we suggest you take advantage of our free injury consultation at no cost and no risk to you.

Call IFAST physical therapy at 317-578-0998 to schedule your free injury consultation. Don’t wait. We can help you.

Visit the IFAST Physical Therapy Page HERE!


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Thompson, S.M., Fung, S. & Wood, D.G. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc (2016)

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