#FAQF…”Oh my gosh! My MRI shows that I have SEVERE degeneration and and a moderate disk bulge in my spine! Life is over! But my doctor seems to not be worried. WTH? ”
I get it. The words on MRI results can be super scary especially if you are in pain! MRIs are a really great tool to give us a general idea of what is going on but remember they are taken at one point in time, when you are lying down, not moving. So eh. Not that functional really. I mean, how often is someone’s pain THE WORST when they are lying down and not moving? Pretty much never. Remember, the human body was created to move. That is literally what it does best. I digress back to why doctors sometimes seem unimpressed by scary sounding results… The good news is that the studies show that the pain and the results aren’t necessarily correlated. In fact, studies of 1000s of asymptomatic people found that 73.3% of male and 78.0% of females in their 20s have bulging disks! And over 80% of asymptomatic people over 50 have degenerative disk disease! I mean, come on! All of those are high enough to be passing grades on an exam! So what does this all mean?! Basically, just because your MRI shows something scary doesn’t actually mean that it is scary! And it doesn’t even mean that it is the source of your pain! Most likely it isn’t! Mind blown right?! The same findings hold true with things like arthritis in your joints. So take deep breath. Life isn’t over.
One question I ask my patients is if their pain is constant, meaning that nothing makes it better nothing makes it worse. Unless this is the case, how could it be the actual arthritis/DJD that hurts? The arthritis/DJD doesn’t go away if you offload the joint so the pain should be the same 100% of the time. If not, I beg to say that perhaps there is something mechanical going on that is more likely the root of your pain. And maybe, just maybe, that mechanical problem is a large part of the reason you developed that arthritis/DJD/disk bulge in the first place. So why not let a movement specialist like a Physical Therapist check you out, watch you move, and see if there is something we can do to help.
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