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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Lantz

Should You Get an MRI Before Starting PT?

At Restorative Therapy Co., we are unwavering in our commitment to providing not just impeccable care but also essential information that empowers you to make informed decisions about your health and well-being.

Today, we tackle a prevalent concern – do you need an MRI before undergoing physical therapy?

MRI: A Closer Examination

MRIs, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, are powerful tools that allow physicians to take a detailed look inside the body. They are invaluable in diagnosing a plethora of conditions, offering a non-invasive method to detect issues that aren't easily visible from the outside.

However, recent studies have found a concerning trend - the use of MRI scans has skyrocketed, but not always to the patient’s benefit. A significant number of these scans are not only unnecessary but can also lead to overdiagnosis and overtreatment, burdening patients both financially and emotionally.

Physical Therapy: The Unsung Hero

It's essential to recognize that not every ache, pain, or discomfort warrants an immediate MRI. In many cases, physical therapy emerges as a highly effective, non-invasive, and cost-efficient alternative.

Research consistently demonstrates the profound impact physical therapy has on enhancing mobility, reducing pain, and improving quality of life. It also reveals that patients who opt for physical therapy as the first line of defense typically experience lower out-of-pocket costs, fewer visits to emergency departments, and greatly reduced need for opioid prescriptions.

Our Approach at Restorative Therapy Co.

We are steadfast in our belief that individualized, patient-centric care is paramount. Our skilled therapists meticulously assess each patient’s unique needs and challenges, crafting treatment plans that align with their specific health goals.

We are not dismissive of the value of MRIs- they are at times quite necessary. However, we advocate for their judicious use, especially given that many musculoskeletal conditions can be effectively diagnosed and treated through physical examination and tailored physical therapy interventions.

In instances where progress is stagnant or if we suspect underlying issues, rest assured, a referral to a physician for further evaluation, including an MRI if needed, is promptly made.

In Conclusion

Your health is your wealth, and making informed choices is instrumental in preserving it. Before you find yourself in the confinements of an MRI machine, consider exploring physical therapy here at Restorative Therapy Co.

Our dedicated team at RTC is ready to guide you on your journey to optimal health, ensuring that every step taken is both necessary and beneficial.

Thank you for entrusting us with your care – together, we tread a path that is not just about healing and feeling well, but being well, one informed decision at a time.

Contributed by Andrew Lantz, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, CMTPT

Fritz, J. M., Brennan, G. P., & Hunter, S. J. (2015). Physical Therapy or Advanced Imaging as First Management Strategy Following a New Consultation for Low Back Pain in Primary Care: Associations with Future Health Care Utilization and Charges. Health Services Research, 50(6), 1927-1940.

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