Don’t go looking for problems…

Interesting article in the NY Times about how MRIs, when not used judiciously, can lead to inappropriate and even harmful treatment.

One of the hardest parts of my job is trying to convince people that the appropriate treatment is…nothing.  People will often present to me with an acute complaint- knee pain, back pain, shoulder pain- and want an MRI.  Nine times out of ten, it is not necessary.  Everyone needs a good history and physical exam.  Based on that, I determine if imaging is needed.  Most often, it’s not.  What’s needed is rest and sometimes physical therapy.  And time.  Lots and lots of time.  It takes a lot more than a week or two for a muscle or ligament to heal.  It’s frustrating, but true, and there is absolutely nothing that can be done to speed it up.  So, have patience.  Otherwise, you might be buying yourself an unnecessary surgery.

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