It is said that Americans spend almost $55 billion a year just to treat back pains. This includes expenses in the form of MRIs, CT scans, X-rays, and other advanced clinical imaging technology that aims to find the exact cause of the pain and treat it directly.
However, as a chiropractor in Gresham has pointed out, even the Committee of the American College of Physicians (ACP) recently released a new clinical guideline that warns against unnecessary advanced imaging as it does not improve the patient’s health nor it is a guaranteed useful in finding what is causing the patient’s back pain. Indeed, unnecessary imaging only brings equally unnecessary tests and follow ups that only hike up the patient’s medical expenses without improving his condition.
While advanced imaging technology have definitely made it easy for doctors and clinicians to diagnose the root cause of a variety of pains and diseases, it is certainly not as helpful in treating back pains.
In fact, it is pretty common for patients and their doctors to remain clueless as to what is really causing the pain even after dozens of advanced imaging scans later. This is sometimes because not all back pains are brought about by torn muscles or overstretched ligaments. It can also be due to damaged nerves, which won’t show in any advanced imaging scans.
Thus, it is more helpful for chiropractors to simply listen to the patient and ask questions to help pinpoint the cause of pain and treat it accordingly.
Apparently, most doctors are still not aware of the contradictions in using advanced imaging technology when dealing with back pains. Since back pain is the second leading reason for patients to visit a doctor, the clinical guideline is needed to avoid creating too many false positives and wrong diagnoses. Besides, it is hard for a patient to put their trust on medical personnel who keeps telling them that there is nothing wrong with their body while numbing pain is searing through their lower backs.
While the guideline does not scrap the use of advanced imaging in its entirety, it establishes the fact that doctors and clinicians in general should avoid relying too much on the advanced imaging scan results in treating back pains.
The Clinical Necessity of Imaging, AmericanChiropracticAssociation.org
Diagnostic Imaging for Low Back Pain: Advice for High-Value Health Care From the American College of Physicians, AnnalsofInternalMedicine.org
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