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Are you worried about your X-ray or MRI findings?

It’s easy to become a victim of medical imaging technology, and get too caught up in what your X-ray or MRI says. How you understand these findings is the most important thing. Abnormalities on your X-ray or MRI may not actually be the cause of your back pain. Getting acquainted with these details may help. However, recent studies show that how we conceptualize our pain is very important for recovery. Gaining a good understanding of your presentation is vital. This involves how you move, what you think and what you do . Here are some interesting findings  from a research article in Canada. It certainly offers some food for thought. Below are just a few of these facts to ponder:

Illustration showing the lumbar spine

The Lumbar Spine



Lumbar Spine

Studies have shown that lumbar disc degeneration is present in 40% of individuals under the age of 30 and present in over 90% of those between the ages of 50-55.

Another study has shown that amongst healthy young adults aged 20-22 years with no back pain, 48% had at least one degenerated disc, and 25% had a bulging disc.

Position of the cervical vertebrae

Position of the cervical vertebrae


Cervical Spine

An MRI study of healthy adults found that 98% of all men and women with no neck pain had evidence of degenerative changes in their cervical discs.


Anatomy of the knee

Anatomy of the knee



Studies have shown that on X-ray, almost 85% of adults with no actual knee pain have X-rays that show arthritis. Another study showed that 48% of healthy professional basketball players had cartilage damage on their MRI.







MRI studies of adults who have no shoulder pain show that 20% have partial rotator cuff tears and 15% have full thickness tears. Also, in adults 60 years+ with no shoulder pain or injury, half of them had rotator cuff tears on their MRI that they didn’t even know about.





So what’s the punch line? Get acquainted with your own pain presentation. Speak with someone who understands your complaint and how you can find more health. Understand that MRI and X-ray results are just part of the picture, not necessarily the reason for your pain.

Images from Blausen Gallery 2014