Rapid MRI vs Radiographs for Patients With Low Back Pain
This study found no additional benefit to ordering MRI over standard Xrays. Interestingly, this study found that patients who had MRIs were more likely to undergo surgery. Basically, this supports what I always tell patients–just because something shows up on an MRI (i.e. disc herniation) does not mean that it is causing your current symptoms. Nothing replaces a good exam. An MRI should NOT be used to make a diagnosis, but rather to confirm what you already know or clarify a difficult case presentation.
JAMA — Abstracts: Jarvik et al. 289 (21): 2810