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You Are NOT your MRI: Why you shouldn’t focus on your MRI results

When seeing your doctor for a new injury, it is likely that your doctor will send you to get X-rays to clear for any suspected fracture or bone injury. Next, they’ll suggest you either try physical therapy or get an MRI. The truth is, your MRI results will likely not change your physical therapist’s treatments. Why? Physical therapists design their treatments around the impairments they find such as muscle weakness, limited joint range of motion, joint instability, etc. We will still treat the same impairments no matter the results of your MRI.

Other facts about MRI results:

  • Healthy, pain free patients can have abnormal MRI findings

  • Patients with pain can have abnormal MRI findings elsewhere other than where their symptoms are

  • Getting an MRI before trying physical therapy can break the bank and be MORE expensive than vice versa

  • If you are trying to avoid surgery (which should almost never be plan A), MRI results will not change your treatment plan

So how can PT help you?

  • We can help you understand your MRI findings- often times doctors don’t have the time to sit down with you to thoroughly go over your findings. We can sit down with you to discuss your MRI report and what it means exactly!

  • We can educate you on the best way to avoid future injury and avoid surgery using exercise and manual therapy

  • We can improve your strength, stability, and mobility such as education on safe exercise depending on the diagnosis so you can return to the activities that you love!

If you need help evaluating your MRI and what to do next, contact us! We are here to help answer your questions.

Happy Healing! Maggie Nguyen PT, DPT


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