Imaging for Low Back Pain - friend of foe?

Have you or someone close to you ever had an x-ray or MRI of the lumbar spine?

If so, you may recognize the terms “degenerative disc disease”, “osteophytes” and “spondylolisthesis” among others. At first glance, these terms do not paint a very positive picture and may leave you concerned with the health of your spine. However, it is important to note that these findings are poorly correlated with pain and actually have a high prevalence in pain-free populations. (1,2)

Have a listen to this six-minute video hosted by Physiotherapist Bahram Jam to understand how radiological imaging can act as a barrier to recovery.


  1. Deyo RA, Mirza SK, Turner JA, Martin BI. Overtreating chronic back pain: time to back off? J AM Board Fam Med 2009; 22: 62.68.

  2. McCullough BJ, Johnson GR, Brook MI, Jarvik JG. Lumbar MR imaging and reporting epidemiology: do epidemiologic data in reports affect clinical management? Radiology 2012; 262: 941-946.

#imagingforlowbackpain #xrayresults #interpretingxrayresults #physiotherapyandlowbackpain #falsepositivexrayresults #falsepositivediagnosticimagingresults

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