If You Are 50+ Years Old, Don’t Let Those MRI Results Scare You…




Hey guys. It’s Stephen here at CORE Therapy & Pilates again. Today I wanted to continue talking about those MRI’s that I blogged about last week. Some people reached out to me and were curious about why I didn’t think MRI’s weren’t that important, so I want to go over some of the statistics and why I believe that.

The current statistics say that if you take people without back pain and go do an MRI or a CT scan, that you’ll get degenerative disc changes in:

– 37% of the 20-year-olds… yes you read that correctly… 37% of 20-year-olds without back pain will have degenerative disc changes.

– 80% of 50-year-olds.

– 96% of 80-year-olds…96% of them… will have changes.

So that’s a pretty big percentage of people without back pain to show positive signs of degenerative disc changes. And what is degenerative disc disease? It means the space between the two lumbar vertebrae where the disc is, has gotten very compressed, where there should have a little bit of a sponginess and a space, it’s now gotten very shortened and compressed. And that’s what we call disc degeneration. So, it’s pretty common, the older you get, the more common it is.

So if I get a 50-year-old woman in here with a degenerate disc change on her MRI, I’m not that concerned about that image, because again, it’s so common in that scenario.

So now I’m going to talk about a bulging disc. So, a bulging disc is where the disc between two vertebra starts to pop out of the space it should be in and it hits a little nerve, and as this little nerve goes down into your leg (or if it’s in your neck, it goes down into your arm), that’s where you’ll get some discomfort.

Let’s talk about the statistics of MRI’s, for people who do not have back pain, but showed up with a bulging disc on their MRI.

– 30% of 20-year-olds

– 60% of 50-year-olds.

– 84% of 80-year-olds.

So it’s a very common finding for people who don’t have back pain. So for us to say that someone has back pain, and their MRI shows that it’s a bulging disc at L4 or 5, it doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s the true cause of the problem. We can figure that out clinically and find out what the problem is and we can do things before you get an MRI and it’ll actually give you relief and make you feel better before you spend all that money on an MRI. If things don’t get better with physical therapy, then we can always send you in for an MRI. But again, with these statistics that I just went over, it’s kind of a scary thing.

So, that’s it for today. I hope you all have a great day. It’s beautiful outside in Austin, people are showing up as Austin City Limits starts today. So, it’s a gorgeous day for the festival. All of you going out today, enjoy, stay safe. Do your release work before you go.

And that’s it. Have a great day.

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Stephen Dunn

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