6056 E Baseline Rd.

Suite 147
Mesa, AZ 85206

Mon - Fri 6AM to 7PM

Sat 8AM to 12PM

6056 E Baseline Rd.

Suite 147
Mesa, AZ 85206

Mon - Fri 6AM to 7PM

Sat 8AM to 12PM

The Stable Spine Series Part 4: X-Rays, MRI’s…Dangerous for a Bad Back?

If you’ve ever been to the doctor for back problems, you may know the routine: X-ray images, MRI scans, and worse, the report you get back may be a bit confusing or worrying with terms such as ”disc herniations’, or ‘severe degenerative disc disease’…

What if I told you that these images could be potentially damaging to your health?

I’m not talking about the radiation from an x-ray, or the MRI procedure itself.

But instead, the misleading information. Like the potential psychological impact, and also the danger of having critical decisions made off the back of an image, rather than the ‘whole picture’.

A lot of questions may enter your head when you see the report… “Will I need surgery?”, “Can it get better?”, “Is this how it’s going to be for the rest of my life?”

The goal of this week’s article is to help you see how EVEN IF you’ve been diagnosed with ‘degenerating discs’ or ‘disc bulges’ that you can STILL get back to an active lifestyle without pills or surgery…

The Truth About Doctors

You see, hundreds of people I’ve had the chance to work with have overcome problems such as ‘degenerating discs’ or ‘disc herniations’. I’ve realized that there is MUCH MORE to your back, or your body than just simply what an x-ray or MRI says…

“How can this be? I was told by my doctor I’d need injections and surgery and that I’d have to accept it!”

Most doctors these days seem all to quick to ‘push pills’ and recommend surgery. And also, they don’t take the time, energy, or take their patients through the detailed process of diagnosing the root cause of the injury…

They often make rushed decisions about the long term health of your spine only off the basis of what your MRI might say, and often times are not considering the ‘big picture’…

Don’t get me wrong, I am not AGAINST the use of MRI’s. The findings should NOT be ignored

I just believe imaging should be part of the decision making process…But I do NOT believe critical, and potentially life altering, dangerous injections or surgeries should be made ONLY from an image. Especially without first considering many other important factors. 

What Other Back Factors Should Be Considered?

Lifestyle, movement, nutrition, strength, flexibility, how you move, how you exercise, are you doing the right exercises?…

Your past injury history, your pain tolerance, what you’ve done to help your back the past 2 weeks, what you’ve done the past 5 years since you first tweaked your back…

There are SO MANY OTHER possible ‘root causes’ of injury which could explain WHY you’re having problems. All are VERY fixable, EVEN IF your MRI shows problems…

Take this example of two clients I worked with who’d seen the same doctor. 

Back Client 1:

A 53 year old, health conscious woman by the name of Janet.  She exercised several times a week, ate healthy, made good health decisions, but she’d just tweaked her back during one exercise class. Instead of getting immediate treatment, she rested and waited. 6 weeks later when she’d seen the doctor she’d been diagnosed with ‘degenerating discs’ and a few ‘disc bulges’.

But her pain wasn’t too severe due to her ‘disc bulges’ and ‘degenerating discs’. The doctors told her to stop exercising since it was ‘hurting her back more’.  They recommended injections and warned of surgery down the line…

Fearful of missing out, she decided to NOT have surgery. She sought help at Spark Performance and Physiotherapy. And within 6 weeks of a combination of hands-on treatment and correctly chosen and prescribed exercises, she was back to her normal, active lifestyle!

Back Client 2:

Now compare this to Alex, a 30 year old computer programmer. He wasn’t making smart health choices. He sat at a desk all day and hadn’t exercised in about 10 years.  His mobility was poor, muscles de-conditioned, and his nutrition was garbage. Since he is younger,  his MRI was much ‘cleaner’, and since the “MRI” showed nothing severe, the very same doctor told Alex that the pain was ‘in his head’ and told him to see ‘pain management’…

Luckily for Janet, her overall health, lifestyle and movement habits allowed her to improve much more quickly and get back to living a much better quality of life. 

Even though her MRI’s showed more damage!

Alex, on the other hand, even though younger, and showing ‘less damage’ on his MRI, had a MUCH more difficult time improving.

The takeaway is this…


Taking a big-picture approach. Look at all aspects of your lifestyle, and using x-ray or MRI imaging to simply help ASSIST in making decisions about your health is a much safer approach than to make 100% ASSUMPTIONS ONLY based off an image…

If you ARE worried about recent MRI or x-ray findings, and would like to find out more about what can be done to get back to living a normal, active, healthy lifestyle…

Ask us about our free 30-minute phone consultation.  All we will do is have an honest, open conversation about your health.  We’ll listen to your problems, and help you come up with a solution that works best for you.

Just head on over to this link, fill out a quick 45-second webform and we will be in contact to schedule your call-back right away.

Steven Alexander PT, DPT, Cert DN