Hey, it’s Dr. Jake Berman! Welcome to my blog!
In a previous blog, I talked about how western medicine tends to treat the symptoms of back pain and not the actual cause – how doctors tend to focus on pain medicines and X-ray/MRI results to guide their treatment of your symptoms without actually putting their hands on you and trying to FEEL what the real problem is.
When I first graduated from PT school, I used to actually “care” that I could read and interpret X-rays and MRIs. But then my mentor taught me never to look at an MRI/X-ray before actually putting my hands on somebody, because “you don’t want to be looking for something that might not be there.” All this means is that you don’t want to influence what your hands are feeling. Then, after treatment, if you can’t make sense of your findings, compare with the X-ray/MRI.
Why would he tell me to NOT use this great knowledge that I spent a ton of money (that I didn’t have!) obtaining in grad school?!?! Why wouldn’t I use the “special test” (X-ray/MRI) results to guide my treatment?
Over the past 5+ years there have been multiple high-quality studies looking at MRI results of the lumbar spine in asymptomatic people aged 50+. Asymptomatic means they have NO symptoms. And the results… Drum roll please…
Over 60% of people aged 50+ have some type of degeneration, herniation, bulging, etc in their lumbar spine!!! Now remember, these studies were done on people who DIDN’T HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS! Talk about influencing what your hands are feeling!
That is why I really don’t care what your X-ray/MRI says until AFTER I put my hands on you. IF I can’t figure out what the true underlying problem is, THEN I will consult the “special tests.”