Spinal Imaging Perspective:
X-Ray / MRI Medical Reports

Spinal medical reports that leave people resigned to compromising one’s outlook and activities for life, do not, by any means, have to be taken as the last word. Regarding anatomical parts or segments of the spine that have been diagnosed as the cause of our symptoms, however compromised in their integrity; Invariably, a Network Care chiropractor finds it’s never a roadblock. It turns out that even when segments of the neck, upper back, mid-back, low back or hip area look absolutely horrendous on x-ray or MRI, they can still work very well as all areas of the spine begin functioning more in harmony. By way of analogy, it’s as if different parts of the spine were becoming friends. Not unlike when people who were once seen as troublemakers turn out to be friends once they’re accepted into a larger community.

ANY compromise in spinal function, over time will always lead to findings on x-ray or MRI that are actually very common — much, much more so than what you might think when you get that doctor’s report. Actually, such findings, such as some of the more common ones listed below, can be found with or without pain or symptoms of any kind. Symptoms, after all, only show up in the later stages of an underlying disease process that were most often years in the making, signaling the need for something to change.

In today’s technological society, where children sit at school desks for hours at a stretch and machines define how we use our bodies throughout life, an x-ray or MRI of most anyone will most likely show at least some of the following findings. How many of the findings listed below and the degree of severity will naturally reflect the person’s age and history of physical, emotional, and chemical stress.

• Disc prolapse, degenerative disc
• Annular tear
• Osteoarthritic
• Osteopenia
• Osteophytes
• Osteoporosis
• Loss of intervertebral disc space
• Foraminal stenosis or narrowing, often referred to as a pinched nerve
• Spinal stenosis
• Spondylolisthesis

As a more graphic example, we have seen people with Harrington implants. These stainless steel rods are surgically implanted by attaching them to the vertebral bones along the spinal column. Throughout the history of this outdated procedure, considerable reinforcements were found necessary to keep the rods from fatiguing and eventually breaking.  Yet, under our care, patients with Harrington implants develop the graceful, yet dynamic “Network wave” movements, greatly expanding full range of motion throughout the spine.  A routine phenomenon seen at the offices of Network Care chiropractors.

Healthy spine goes hand in hand with a lively spirit amidst the changing feelings of our lives. Scientific research points to emotional stress as the greatest predictor of back pain in a population. One such study, reported in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology*, did this for two large populations predicting outcomes two years later. When an anatomical part of the spine is found to be defective, it’s all too easy to blame that part as the cause of back pain. Scientifically speaking, this is taking a known event and projecting backwards in time for a proposed chain of events leading to the current event. If it turns out to have any validity however, then it must be able to successfully predict events going forward in time, consistently, for a large sample size. As it turns out, no x-ray or MRI finding has ever come close to the success rate of using emotional stress as the predicting factor.

* Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, Volume 58, Issue 7, pages 714-718, July 2005, “Psychological distress confirmed as predictor of long-term back-related functional limitations in primary care settings”. This study tested the researchers’ emotional stress survey to successfully predict back pain outcomes with 82% success rate over a 2 year period on a group of 860 French speaking workers in Canada as well as on a group of 644 English speaking HMO enrollees in Washington State.