Xray and MRI Scans

We have just decided to start blogging!! We might not do much, but we will try to pass on some good stuff relating to Osteopathy and health.


-Patients often ask me whether an Xray would be useful when they have low back pain?

Xray's only really clearly show up bones (and by default perhaps joint spaces) so are of limited clinical use. When you combine this with the fact that because when you have an Xray you are exposed to potentially damaging radiation (which is a cancer risk) the answer is generally "No", as the risk will probably outweigh the benefit. This is per the NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) guidelines published for back pain. One exception to this is a traumatic onset which might have caused a fracture/broken bone.

An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan shows up many more tissues, like muscles, tendons and ligaments, but in the absence of a surgical option or signs of serious disease, they tend not to change the conservative management of low back pain. Because of this it is questionable whether even a MRI scan is worthwhile!

The NICE guidelines for general low back pain currently recommend a short course of manipulation, exercise and possibly acupuncture. These guidelines were published in 2009 and are due to be reviewed soon.....



© Bexleyheath Ostepathic Practice 2013