Should you get imaging (X Ray, CT scan, or MRI) for your low back pain? If you had a recent acute episode of low back pain, consider the following. The current research of imaging for acute episodes of low back pain show that imaging is poorly correlated with the source of pain. Imaging can show “degeneration” or “slipped/bulging discs”. However, over 1/3rd of patients that have these abnormalities from imaging actually have no back pain. This means that these findings aren’t necessarily the cause of your pain. Imaging actually has a potential to be harmful. Imaging increases the risk for surgery 8x, increases the likelihood of spending more on unnecessary medical costs (injections, medications), increases the risk for worrying, and ultimately reducing movement. How do you know if you need imaging or not? -Imaging should be done after 6 weeks of conservative care and you have ongoing symptoms. -If you have progressive neuroglocal deficits or have suspicion of a serious disease (cancer, cauda equina, infection) Otherwise, it would be beneficial to do at least 6 weeks of Conservative care first. Good care will consist of education, self management, and a graded exercise program. If you have any questions or concerns, drop a comment. Or if you are experiencing low back pain, don’t hesitate to contact us at lexington physiotherapy.