Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Back pain and tests

It turns out there was a study (like we need another study) that says back scans can find things that aren't causing pain. Well, I know medical scans can find all sorts of thingys (very technical I know) that are there inside our bodies but don't mean much.

I happen to know I have a thingy in my lungs that has been there and is stable for about 30 years - and I have an annual x-ray to prove it. I also have a couple thingys (also known as hemangiomas) on my liver. They are just fine. They can hang out but they won't kill me.

Most people's backs are not perfect. Heck, most bodies aren't perfect. (If you have a perfect body, let me know and we'll figure out how you can become a fashion model or professional body builder or something.) Now we have these high tech procedures and tests that uncover things that may or may not mean anything.

Two-thirds of Americans suffer back pain at some point and for most it will go away with treatment within a month. I passed that point a long time ago. When my back started hurting (which I documented here - the (delicate, feather weight, 15 lb.) cat sat on my stomach and made my back hurt November 29, 2008. After living on Advil for a month I went to the doctor who sent me for an x-ray and then to another doctor who sent me for PT which didn't work and I ended up in the pain clinic with an MRI which found degenerating disks.

So in my case, the MRI found out something that was important. But just because a test finds a thingy, don't jump to conclusions. Remember, our bodies aren't perfect, 80% of breast lumps are benign, and sometimes we just hurt for insignificant reasons - like stubbing your toe or something.

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