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Treat Humans Not Pictures

Physical Therapy

A big question and issue that comes up in the clinic frequently is the presence of tissue disruption on an image. When people are looking at their x-rays, MRIs, or any other scans they automatically come to the conclusion that whatever they see on the scan is the reason for their pain.

However, the research shows us time and time again that imaging and symptoms are not correlated. Just because you have a tear on an MRI does not mean you will be disabled, limited, or painful. We need to understand that treating humans requires individual approaches. It shouldn’t be the norm to see this on an image and then book your surgery date.

A huge problem in our medical community is that we get very attached to what our MRI says. “My MRI says this. My x-ray shows that..” Now yes,  at times it’s important we know this information but we shouldn’t be married to the image. Fitness forward mentality and giving our body an environment to heal is superior to any surgical intervention. Because guess what?? Even if you do have the surgery but the environment stays the same (sedentary behavior, poor diet, no sleep, tightness, weaknesses) you will likely end up with pain somewhere else. Most likely the joint above or below where you had the surgery. But if you take care of the root cause, the real issues, if you aren’t beating around the bush then you start to tip the tide into your hands.

Another study recently published in February of 2022 again showed that low back pain was not associated with the severity on an image. Some people who demonstrated high level disc herniations and arthritis did not have any symptoms. WHY? Because images are not correlated with pain. The low back under MRI showed degenerative changes in people from 20-80 however the association with current or future low back pain was minimal to ZERO association.

So let’s put this narrative to sleep and start creating a positive environment for you to heal. If we are living in a house with no roof, broken windows, and decreased insolation we will freeze no matter what we do. You can try and add a heater or throw a coat on but it won’t fix the issue! Change your environment, create an opportunity for you to succeed and the body will do the rest!

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