All too often I hear clients ask do I need to get a scan for this? Now, all injuries are different and there is no right or wrong answer. Depending on the body part in question a scan is not always fully diagnostic and may in fact show things that are clinically not relevant. Often an MRI scan is like opening a can of worms, and sometimes show things that clutter an already difficult picture. What is far more important is how you present clinically, for example where the pain is, its severity, its duration and pattern, the functional restrictions that give a much clearer picture of what is going on. The reason these things are so important is that we are looking to treat you and your symptoms – not the scan results! Any good treatment or rehabilitation program is based on your signs and symptoms rather than what a scan shows. That said, there is a time and place for a scan, namely, when the diagnosis is not clear, or when its is suspected that there is some serious pathology going on that needs to be exactly identified, and I am not against (in certain circumstances) getting a scan as a baseline on which to monitor potential deterioration in the future.
If in any doubt, please seek medical advice as each case is different, but remember, its the clinical picture, not the MRI picture that counts!