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Updated: Nov 15, 2019

Have you ever wondered the correlation is between low back pain and what actually shows up on an MRI? As more and more research comes out, it is becoming more evident that what shows up on an MRI is not necessarily correlated with the pain you may or may not be experiencing.⁣

For example:⁣
1.~37% of individuals in their 20s have degenerative disc disease (DDD)⁣
2.~52% of individuals in their 30s have degenerate disc disease (DDD)
3.~68% of individuals in their 40s have degenerative disc disease (DDD) (Brinjiki, et all 2015)⁣ ⁣

• What does this all mean? It means that a large percentage of the population that is NOT experiencing pain will have abnormalities show up on an MRI.
• As one of the most renowned and well-known orthopedic surgeons once said: “If you want an excuse to operate on a pitcher’s throwing shoulder, just get an MRI.” – Dr. James Andrews⁣. This quote is no different and can also be applied to the low back.
• Bottom Line: Don’t elect to undergo low back surgery based on an MRI result. Most likely the cause of your low back pain is due to weakness or poor movement patterns.
• You are NOT your MRI

About the Author:

Pro+Kinetix Physical Therapy & Performance specializes in helping active individuals in Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, and San Francisco get back to exercising and working out pain free without having to take time off or relying on injections/pain medication. Pro+Kinetix offers rehabilitation and performance services to all populations, with specialties in Sports Rehabilitation, Active Release Techniques, and Manual Therapy Techniques plus Personal and Small Group Training, Sport Clinics and Wellness Services.

Oakland, CA Pain Management Clinic

Dr. Ben Bagge

Pro+Kinetix Physical Therapy & Performance

"We Help Active Adults & Athletes Get Back To Workouts and Sports They Enjoy without surgery, stopping activities they love, or relying on pain medicine."
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