Some interesting research has just come out from the Netherlands.
They did a 1 year follow up with patients that presented with severe lower back pain with nerve impingement often known as ” Sciatica “.
What the researchers found that was after a 1 year follow up there was no correlation between the ongoing presence of a disc herniation and the persons pain level.
The implication here for us humble clinicians is that the physical presence of a disc herniation 1 year after incident is not really a good way of determining in itself whether that disc herniation is actually causing the patients pain and discomfort.
More and more research is now coming in that pours cold water on the notion that we can rely on imaging findings alone to make recommendations and predictions about the best treatment and chances of impairment.
Pain and disfunction are really complex things with many variable coming into play and it’s clear that us practitioners for too long have been giving too much weight to the structural and imaging side of the coin. But let’s through any babies out with the bathwater just yet. MRI imaging has been a great tool in the mix of understanding and helping our patients problems. It’s just not the be all and end all.
You can read the full study here if you are interested
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