In our line of work, we see back pain everyday. Our clients have back pain, our employees have back pain, and we have back pain. In fact, back pain is one of the most common excuses to miss work or visit a doctor. It is not a fun thing. Back pain can severely limit movement, limit the ability to sit for long periods of time, and just drive you nuts.
I’ve come to the conclusion that it is an intolerable pain. It’s not something you can get used to because you can feel it every time you move. Most of America suffers from back pain for a variety of reasons. Obesity, car accidents, poor posture, lugging backpacks full of school books to and fro everyday for thirteen years, is it any wonder that people are in pain?
When addressing back pain, doctors have an option of having an x-ray, a CT, or an MRI. According to MSNBC, the radiological studies should only be used if there is evidence of an actual condition causing the pain. Researchers fear that overexposure of radiation from x-rays and CTs can have long term consequences (and MRIs are just plain expensive).
They say that the studies are not worth it because more often then not they do not reveal anything useful. Experts believe that radiology should only be done if there is clear evidence of an underlying condition.
As a sufferer of back pain I feel like it should be my choice. If I am in pain, I want to know what’s causing it. I understand that they might find nothing, but the doctor might also find a herniated disc or a broken bone. It’s a risk I am willing to take.
Let’s think about this. If doctors do give the tests, what’s the downside? It comes back negative and they move on to more conservative treatment. We have to pay for the test and health insurance has to pay for some, if not all, of it. What if doctors don’t give the test and there is something substantially wrong? The patient is needlessly in pain. The condition could get worse before it’s caught. Permanent damage could be done by the time the doctor finally decides to get an x-ray.
I would rather the doctor err on the side of caution. Do the x-ray. Pain is not pleasant, I’ll take the low dose of radiation if it means it could help diagnose the problem. Let’s face it, once you know what is wrong, you can treat it. If you don’t know what’s going on, then treatment is hit and miss, you’re wasting more time and money trying therapies that won’t work when one x-ray, CT or MRI could show surgery is needed.
There is a reason this medical technology exists. It is there for our use to make our lives better. I’d better be safe than sorry.