Clinical Significance of Lumbar Spine MRI Findings

In a resent article by Debra Rate DC, DACBR, describes much conflicting data with the following observations:

1.Not all MRI abnormalities have a clinical significance regarding disc displacement and patient symptoms.

2. The type or size of disc herniation may correlate poorly with clinical signs and symptoms.

3. The presence of neural foramen compromise is more important in determining the clinical signs and symptoms.

4. There is strong tendency to treat disc lesions seen on MRI, but these findings may not be the cause of the patients symptoms.

5. Agressive treatment of disc herniations have created enormous cost increases but have not improved outcomes accordingly or disability rates.

6. Increase in treatment has created a huge use of MRI for evaluating back pain, less than 50% considered appropriate, and association of adverse outcomes including unnecessary surgeries and increased costs.