Research Article proves MRI's are a BAD way to diagnose!

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Hi Everyone,

I thought everyone might benefit from a summary of this article I read. There is a lot of fear that is perpetuated by doctors and patients especially with what MRI's say, so I thought this might add some perspective.

A systematic review (summary of research) showed the following problems showing up in people WITHOUTpain. Again these are positive MRI's in people that have no pain!MRI's show Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is present in 37% of 20 year old people and increases with age to showing up in 96% of 80 year old people. Remember these people have NO pain!

MRI's show disc bulges are present in 30% of those 20 years old and increases to 84% in those 80 years of age. Again NO pain!!

MRI's show disc protrusion present in 29%  in 20 year old individuals up to 43% in 80 year old individuals.No pain!Basically this means that these things show on MRI's whether you have pain or not. If it shows up in people that DON'T have pain, how can you be sure that it is the problem in people that DO have pain? The simple answer is you can't.

I know its hard to not worry about the MRI results but the research shows that what they show is the source of pain. Don't use a static image as the SOLE diagnostic tool of a dynamic system.

I hope that helps provide some perspective.

AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2015 Apr;36(4):811-6. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A4173. Epub 2014 Nov 27.

Systematic literature review of imaging features of spinal degeneration in asymptomatic populations.

Brinjikji W1


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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi there

    Thank you for that I have been wondering because I had an mri done July 2015 showed annular tear with disc protrusion and dessication of fluid so it shows a black disc on l4 an l5 I had medical stopped completely waited 9 months for help again then did a ct scan in July 2016 my surgeon had told me last year that the disc is damaged and need to be replaced so I was booked for surgery but it was cancelled due to some issues with iod now the surgeon is referring to my ct scan an says that my spine looks fine altho I suffer chronic pain from lower back all the way down my legs so confused right now I don't know what to believe coz I just want life back to on synaleve and lyrica and xefo for the pain but not so helpful.

    Had 8 facet joint injections done 4wks ago no different coz it's back to pain😭

    Any suggestions anyone please ?

    Kind regards


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  • Posted

    Worst suspicions confirmed. Is it the radiologist, or the equipment or the weight the GP gives to the report. In any case, what was supposed to be the ultimate tool is now under suspicion. A second type of technology is needed apparently, that eliminates the human factor.
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  • Posted

    I have severe left leg pain had ct scan june and it showed L4/L5 disc protusion on nerve root a 10mm synovial cyst impinging nerve on right side also nerve impingment S1 nerve plus degeneration .I had steroid needle left L4 / L5 nerve in june and helped pain 50% but was also on lyrica so the lyrica helped also but i have no knee reflex still a nd left leg weak had mri in mid august referred to surgeon and the mri showed that that disc is no longer impinged but all neuro tests on left leg still the same . I have o go back for another visit in 4 weeks .so don't know what to think he told me to take care walking and up down stairs as my left knee can give way , which happened to me in june when trying to walk i ended up flat on the ground and walking and standing makes my pain a lot worse does anyone have similar experience ? I couldnt believe the complete difference in catscan report to the MRI. 2 months later he told me the discs can slip back but i still have same symptoms would appreciate anyones opinion thanks marg 


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    • Posted

      Hi Marg

      Similar scenario for me I don't know which to believe ct or mri I would understand if the pain had gone and I healed but to hear 2 diff diagnoses do not add up

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    • Posted

      Yes i know its frustrating will wait and see at next appointment take care and keep me updated have read on google MRI does not always show the problem 


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  • Posted

    Agree, I have had a lifetime of MRI s and x rays. Consultants with me have alwasys taken notice of x rays. There is a small op I believe that you can have ......obviously a Dr makes the decision who has it...that tells them where the pain is coming from but know nothing else about it and could be someone's error!!!

    I just wish they had done it on me would have caused less years of pain!!

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