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Don’t Live Your Imaging


A very smart doctor once told me that and I live by it - and encourage it to my friends, families, and patients. If you ar

e a frequent flyer to the doctor’s office, sit down, you may not like what you are about to read.


We all go through changes and we all sustain some kind of injury, ache, or pain. If it is truly musculoskeletal, it most-likely does not need imaging. Here’s why:

  • Our body heals. It takes time and if you’re not 15 years old, it might take a little more time

  • Treatment doesn’t change. Ever been to the doctor and leave with a pain prescription. Sure you spent 6 minutes talking about what was wrong and then you were given what the next Jo-Shmo will get when they complain about pain, pills. “Come back in 6 weeks if it is not better.” Then you get imaging. So what’s next?

Imaging does give us great information but it can miss things too.

Generally, What do physicians do with imaging information -

1. Further explain what is going on. Knowledge can be healing.

2. Send you back to PT and encourage you to keep going. Or have you start PT if that was not their first action.

3. Offer injections

4. Offer surgery


I think it is very important to learn what you can about you and encourage imaging when nothing has changed after 4 - 6 weeks of some kind of conservative intervention. I did not say that everything went back to normal or that there is no pain. No change.



Pain, in itself, is not a good indicator (Click here to learn about pain sciences, maybe stay seated). In the physical world we look at dysfunction and what limits you. A pill, injection, or surgery may address the discomfort but it may not help your golf swing.


I write this blog because often people do not give their bodies time to heal and change. We are in a world of instant gratification and unfortunately our bodies do not work that way. I constantly have the conversation with patients about exposing oneself to unnecessary radiation only to end up right back in the room with me; where the conversation started. Not only where they frustrated that nothing different was happening, they are frustrated that the only other options given were to keep doing what you are doing (75% of the time), injections (20% of the time), surgery (5% of the time). Now they have an expensive bill and they still have to do the work and be patient.


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