How spinal X-rays for back pain is like swiping on Tinder for your soulmate!

March 10, 2019

He/she looks alright…….swipe right!

Not sure about that one……swipe left!

And so it is for those devotees of dating App, Tinder.

But as anyone who has done some swiping on Tinder will tell you, at this point all you have seen is a photo and you have no idea what kind of person your potential “match” is.  Let alone how compatible they are to you.

Only after chatting online and then meeting in person do you start to get a sense of whether this might be someone you may want to build a relationship with.

Selecting your partner from a photo is about as effective as diagnosing your back pain from an xray. That is, it can work but is usually not that effective!

We all agree that partnering up through a photo or an arranged marriage often won’t work out so well, yet we have a medical / healthcare system that loves to xray spines and sit back and say “hmmmm you have some arthritis, erm…, we can’t do much about that so take these pills…….”.

Let me explain further. Osteoarthritis (wear and tear) seen on xray rarely explains back pain.

Everyone has some ‘wear and tear’ from middle age onwards as a legacy of us all walking around in gravity and eventually it starts to “win” and wears out our joints.

It is normal ageing. And crucially, it often does not explain or predict back pain.

The truth of the matter is that back pain diagnosis is more accurate when someone takes the time and skill to get to know how your back moves, how your muscles work (or don’t work), what tasks hurt you, what movement helps you etc.

This is what we do at ProMotion!

So if you have your xrays up on the mantlepiece, and are viewing your “wear and tear” as a life sentence of back pain, I invite you to think again and question whether the “scan happy, pill happy” arm of healthcare in this area is offering you much progress?

If not, why not let a professional get to know your back and it’s ‘patterns’ and help you find more lasting improvement in your pain, movement and life!

Grant Burrows