Should they be our go to diagnostic tool for pain?
Physiotherapist opinion as a general rule (unless there was signs of serious pathology) would be a big NO!!!!
Evidence has proven MRI scans diagnose significant pathology/problems in approximately 2% of patients. Despite scary words used in the reports like disc bulge and degenerative changes, the other 98% just need to move well and return to normal activities.
In reality the ‘normal’ changes seen on the majority of scans, would be similar across the board for any of the population over the age of 30.
All joints in the body are subject to wear and tear (degenerative changes) due to repetitive use. This does not necessarily equate to pain and/or restriction.
Our bodies usually send us lots of signals before we experience significant pain. Do you listen to them?
Pain should not necessarily stop you moving regularly or enjoying exercise. In fact, studies have shown that continuing with regular exercise can help your pain resolve quicker.
There is a lot of unreliable information out there, do not believe everything you read. If you have any concerns it is important you seek the advice of a chartered Physiotherapist, who will use evidence based treatments and advise you where to begin your recovery process in a safe and effective manner.
Understanding your pain and being confident to move is the most important aspect of making a good recovery and preventing future dysfunction or re occurrence.