You are not your MRI report

By Emily Soiney, PT, DPT, PRC, CST, RYT

Did you know...

  • Degenerative changes in the lower back are present in 10% of the population at age 20, 50% at age 40, and 90% at age 60. The majority of people who possesses these changes do not have symptoms.
  • In autopsy studies, 100% of the population over age 50 has detectable disc and joint pathology.
  • Some degree of disc herniation/protrusion can be found in 50% of the population who have never experienced back pain.

This week, I saw a disproportionately high number of clients at Shine who brought in their MRI or x-ray reports. The scenario is usually something like this: my client -whose symptoms are often much improved- arrives with an uncharacteristic depression about them, handing me these reports with a heavy sigh. Although the client's medical team gave them the key results of the imaging, often the client will still have many questions about and are understandably disappointed by the results. At Shine, we always take time to go through what their results mean with respect to to their function and prognosis. I absolutely love seeing the relief and understanding spread over my client's face when they see this report is not a death sentence.

I too have received horrid-sounding test results and have been told by past physicians that I would not be able to jump, run, or look up without pain EVER AGAIN. Based on the test findings, I can see why they told me these things. Luckily, there is a lot more to living a functional and enjoyable life than what these tests can show us. Thanks mainly to the Postural Restoration interventions I have received, I get to jump, run, and look up when it pleases me. I respect my body went through some tough times and I don't go provoking these areas, but I would have to really push it to notice that "severe arthritis" in my knee or the "broad-based disc bulge effacing the thecal sac of the spinal cord" at C6. I respect that my body -and yours- has lived a full life and has the track record to prove it. That does not mean that you or I have to stop moving and enjoying all the wonderful parts that are still working fine. Thank goodness...

You are not your MRI report!