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Your MRI is Wrong

Your imaging study is a compulsive liar who lives in your head rent free. The results are in; you have a herniated or bulging disc, you have arthritis, you lost your spinal curve, you have a labrum tear, you have a torn rotator cuff, the list goes on. What are you going to do? Is your life as you know it over? Is this the diagnosis you were expecting and dreading at the same time? Yes it is, if you allow it to be.

Every day patients come to our office with symptoms that they think stem from one of the above imaging findings, our job is to educate him or her on just how unimportant these findings really are. I know this sounds counterintuitive but it’s true. Ask yourself this “does everyone in the world who has the same condition that I do also have the pain and dysfunction that I do?” Once you realize that the answer to this question is “ No”, the next question you ask yourself needs to be “ Why not?”

The reason why not is because if you are not a surgical candidate (which most people are not) then it is a confluence of compensations that are driving your imaging finding to be symptomatic, not the imaging finding itself. To draw an analogy, imagine that your herniated disc (or whatever imaging finding you have) is the steering wheel to your car. If one day the steering wheel to your car got very heavy and hard to turn would you try to overcome that resistance by joining a gym and getting stronger? Of course not, it would be ridiculous and irresponsible to ignore the presence of a problem and create a way to mask its symptoms. Not to mention there is no one solution to the problem of a heavy steering wheel. It could be that your tires are low so there is more friction on the ground making the wheel feel heavier, it could be that you are out of power steering fluid making the wheel feel heavier, the heavy wheel is not what matters, it is what caused the heavy wheel.

Let's get Movin'

Dr. Sean Pastuch

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