mri for low back painShould you consider an MRI for chronic Lower Back Pain (LBP)? Maybe, but it depends quite a lot on your history. First, numerous studies show there is little correlation between patient histories, MRI results and outcomes. In fact, the American College of Physicians and American Pain Society published a joint article in the Annals of Internal Medicine about this all the way back in 2007. Also, they stated plainly that, “Clinicians should not routinely obtain imaging or other diagnostic tests in patients with nonspecific low back pain (strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence)”.

You can read the complete article here.

Why Isn’t an MRI for Low Back Pain Useful?

For most non-specific cases of LBP, an MRI is simply not a reliable indicator. Multiple studies have demonstrated that the number of false positives is too high. Other studies show that MRIs are not useful in determining the cause of low back pain. Most experts agree that the best approach to managing most LBP cases is to treat conservatively and avoid surgery. For instance, consider this excerpt from a comprehensive article from Harvard University written in 2006:

“MRIs have another drawback: They can be too sensitive. In three studies, volunteers who were entirely free of back pain received MRIs of the spine. Even in those folks, 46%–93% had degenerative discs, 24%–79% had bulging discs, and 22%–40% had herniated discs. If these people had complained of back pain, doctors would be tempted to blame it on disc disease, perhaps starting them down the path to invasive therapy. The same could happen to you. If you have back pain and your MRI shows arthritis or disc disease, there is no assurance that the anatomic abnormality is actually responsible for the pain”.

Moreover, they said, “MRIs are rarely indicated for uncomplicated low back pain… In most cases, MRIs should be performed only if surgery is a serious consideration”.

In addition, even in the presence of a positive MRI result, a major recent study of LBP treatment options by the National Institutes of Health discourages many common treatments. They observe that, “Therapeutic options such as bed rest, TENS, Massage, Spine Supports, Back Schools and Antidepressants showed no evident effectiveness”. Furthermore, “injections, NSAR analgesic therapy, Thermotherapy and Opioid analgesic therapy indicated a short-time effectiveness”.

Finally, “In the long term, only movement therapy seems to provide an evident effectiveness”.

So, that’s why we suggest that those suffering from moderate non-specific LBP should consider a comprehensive, conservative treatment program. This may include trigger point therapy, fascial stretching (to increase range of motion and reduce possible nerve entrapment) and movement therapy such a neuromuscular stabilization.

For most of us, the challenges with our back are largely the result of poor movement programs. We don’t think about it how we move. We just move. And if we move incorrectly, over time we develop taut bands of muscle, connective tissue problems (too tight, too loose or both) and degenerative changes to our spine.

When you are in pain, it can be difficult to learn new movement patterns. Because of this, we often begin with trigger point therapy to reduce pain. This can also help to release muscles that are contracted or in spasm. In addition, we often use fascial stretching to further increase range of motion. In the process, we may find and release nerve entrapments that contribute to referred pain such as sciatica.

However, no matter how much your back hurts, you can begin with one of the simplest and most important movement therapies – diaphragmatic breathing. Of course, a comprehensive program of movement therapy involves more than this. But you can’t hurt yourself by breathing properly. Plus, it will be the starting point for every movement therapy we use.

So, if you are suffering from Low Back Pain today, start with some deep breaths. Then give us a call at 630-858-0000 to make an appointment. We’ll begin with some basic screening tests. We’ll be the first to refer you to a physician if we see a more serious problem.

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Janet was great. FANTASTIC person who knew how to treat and deal with my conditions. Very informative. Finally, someone who knew what I was talking about.

Shilo C.

Really Good

Gini O.

It was interesting, and helpful for my IT band and hip

Osiris P.

My experience was wonderful. Janet was very kind and attentive. I felt great after my session and would recommend to try it out.

Carol M.

The lady that assisted me was awesome! I suffer from fibromyalgia and when I left I felt like a brand new person! I plan to return when I get time!

Pamala M.

Janet was great – knowledgeable and she found all my “hot spots.”

Libbey P.

Seriously, if you are looking for massage therapy that actually does your body good–that changes its function for the better and actually makes pain go away–then this is the place you need to come. Not Massage Envy. Not a chiropractor. You need trigger point from knowledgeable experts in the craft.

Sara B

If your have pain in any part of your body this is the place to go. It focus on the muscles where the pain is. you will feel like a new person. Awesome will be returning. Thanks nice friendly and attentive

June D.


Maria S.

I felt so much better after my appointment. Thank you and thanks for the self care tips!

Margie K.

Experienced therapist. Feel great after appointment…

Yuliya C.

Highly recommended!

Stephanie Y.

What a great experience. The provider was able to recommend things I can do to improve my pain. Address issues I didn’t even share with her that she was able to tell just by her exam and treating me for what i went for. Will be back. Feeling grateful


I spent so much money on chiropractors. This is much better. Everybody should try it out.

Polina D.

Beautiful, relaxing setting. Therapist was knowledgable and professional. I’ll be going back. Thank you.

Jo Ann B.

Janet is very informative. I loved that she explained which muscles/groups she was working on. I learned a lot about my posture and why some of my muscles are not activating. She also provided me with a list of considerations and excercises to improve my posture. I will be back!

Lauren C.

Janet has a unique gift and talent in trigger point therapy. I’m definitely seeing her again!

Jan S.

I loved my experience. Janet is extremely knowledgeable in a vary wide variety of conditions. She is thorough and attentive. Makes you feel right at home!

Jess L.

It’s like an hour of physical therapy (the good parts of P.T. where they massage you and stretch you). She also takes time to explain some ways to help your specific issues. Highly recommend!

Danielle S.

Janet is very knowledgeable and informative. She thoroughly explains where you have weakness and what muscles are over compensating. She gives exercises, stretches, or everyday changes you can make to help you are progress on your own. I highly recommend a visit!

Kate W.

Janet was very knowledgeable and never in a hurry. She took her time explaining every little detail, great service

Rosa V.

Felt much better after the trigger point massage, highly recommend.

Jacob A.



What About My Pain?

Clearly, everyone is different. Many of us have additional challenges and complications. Naturally, we tailor our treatment plans to the individual. However, there are common foundations in this work with everyone.

Fortunately, if you are having similar issues, you may find that a just few treatment sessions helps! We will identify and treat root causes of your individual case.

Clearly, everyone is different. Many of us have additional challenges and complications. Naturally, we tailor our treatment plans to the individual. However, there are common foundations in this work with everyone.

We are licensed professionals. In addition, we all have additional training and certifications in advanced techniques. For instance, this includes trigger point therapy, fascial stretching, neuromuscular and movement therapy. Also we offer kinesio taping, myofascial release, cupping, acoustic compression, self-care classes and more. In fact, we often combine several of these techniques into a single session..

Of course, no one wants chronic pain! Fortunately,  can work together with you to help sort out the issues.

Click here or all us at 630-858-0000 today to make an appointment!
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