The Washington Times - February 17, 2009, 04:59PM

By and large, the X-rays and imaging scans for back pain that doctors so frequently order fail to improve - and may even deter - patients’ healing, a recent study has showed.

The research, carried out by scientists at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland and published in the medical journal Lancet, reviewed six clinical studies involving a total of nearly 2,000 people with lower back pain. The findings revealed that patients receiving scans and X-rays failed to improve faster or experience less pain, depression or anxiety than those who didn’t receive them. Indeed, the scanned seemed to suffer more pain than the non-scanned.


The reason these scans can be hurtful is that, more often than not, they turn up problems that aren’t connected with the back pain. Then these problems have to be investigated and perhaps treated, causing further anxiety, cost and maybe even pain - especially in the event of surgery to treat the problem.

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