Seth Neubardt, M.D. & Jack Stern, M.D., Ph.D.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Patients with back pain often insist on obtaining an MRI, even when we think it is not necessary. When this happens, we try to educate the patient as to the proper use of x-rays and MRIs. Frequently we are able to convince the patient that the study may be inappropriate.
Our explanation is the following: An x-ray is an excellent study to look at the bones in the back, but does not really look at the nerves or the discs. The MRI is an excellent study to look at the discs and the nerves in the back, but does not look at the bone the same way an x-ray does. We use an x-ray when we are concerned about conditions involving the bones such as a fracture. An”x-ray” can be either the standard form or the CT form. CT’s are more detailed and are not usually the first line in the diagnostic work up.
It should be noted that most patients with low back pain or neck pain get better on their own without any interventional treatments, but this may take a period of six weeks. Therefore, it is not wise to rush into taking an x-ray of the cervical or lumbar spine unless back pain has been present for more than six weeks or unless there has been severe unremitting pain worsening day-by-day or history of trauma or other illness.
As mentioned, MRI’s are useful for checking to see if there is any nerve impingement. This test is typically ordered if the patient has pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness into either an arm or leg. The MRI is an excellent test to check for diseases such as herniated disc, disc degeneration, tumors, spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis. If a herniated cervical disc or a herniated lumbar disc is suspected and pain is persistent an MRI may be ordered.


  1. I like the helpful information you provide for your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently.

    I am quite sure I’ll learn many new stuff proper here! Best of luck for the following!


    seattle chiropractors

  2. Spine Surgery India offers info on Spine Surgery India,Spine Surgeon,Spinal Surgery India,Back Pain,Spine Implant,Cost Spine Surgery Hospital India.If you are thinking to go INDIA for surgery, then you must search for Spine surgery India, Laser spine surgery India, Best spine surgeon India, Spine surgery best hospital India & spine surgery cost india

  3. If somebody wants expert take on the main topic of blogging next I advise him/her to go to this site, continue the fussy job.
    Naperville Mammograms

  4. Med Access has managed hundreds of spine surgery in India 100% success rate. The approach essentially is to work with the top most carefully selected spine surgeons who are having extensive experience and very high success rate. Also, it is always advisable to seek multiple opinions from the selected best doctors in order to arrive at the right diagnosis. It has been observed that many patients with back pain may not necessarily need intervention.
    spine surgery in India
    affordable spine surgery in india

  5. Dr. Kodlady Surendra Shetty is the first person to install standing vertical MRI in the Country. Contact Supra Diagnostics for Sitting MRI, Standing MRI, Open MRI, Advanced MRI, Upright MRI in Bangalore. Looking for Vertical MRI in Bangalore? Contact Supra Diagnostics.

  6. I was just read your blog that was really superb got much pleasure to read that post. please keep sharing post like that.thanks for share with us for this post. MRI Scan Service

  7. Really great article. I have got awesome information about MRI Scanning. Thanks for sharing useful information.
    MRI Scanning Services

  8. I like the helpful information you provide for your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently. Post some Content about Best Spine Surgery Centre in Punjab.