Most (mature) adults have a certain amount of “wear and tear” that can be seen on an MRI scan. This is often considered as “normal”, several studies have indicated that such findings are not a predictor of pain (at least not in the short term).
However, if you have pain that is proving hard to get rid of a “good” MRI scan and a “good report” can often remove the guess work and pin point the source of the pain, thereby leading to the right treatment.
The key point here though is receiving a “good MRI scan” that includes the right set of sequences to identify the problem. For example, certain problems in the spine (and other parts of the body) can be missed unless your MRI scan includes a “STIR sequence” to highlight inflamed tissues.
Also, we have found there is unfortunately a huge variation in the quality and accuracy of MRI reports. We’ve actually lost count of the number of times a patient has brought in an MRI scan on CD that has been reported as showing nothing is wrong, only to find a glaringly obvious problem that has been omitted from the original radiologist’s (or surgeon’s) report.
At Spine Plus our Osteopaths regularly refer patients for affordable, high quality (3T) MRI scans in the London area (from £350) that include all the necessary sequences and accurate reporting from the independent, expert radiologist with whom we have worked closely for the last 10 years.