When an MRI, X-ray or CT scan may be too early?

In modern times, the availability of diagnostic centers that provide facility to undergo an X-Ray, MRI or CT scan tests has increased, even in smaller cities and towns. These tests are not only costly on the pocket but tests like X-ray and CT scan use radiation as well. While the level of radiation received in one single test is not harmful, repeated tests may add up the overall exposure to radiation. Therefore, it is advisable to limit the exposure unless it is needed.

Back Pain Triggers

According to studies, nearly 85% of adults suffer from a bout of back pain sometime in their lifetime. In most of the cases, the back pain goes away on its own after a while, by taking pain-relief medications and by engaging in activities such as walking.  Sometime, it may take a few weeks for the back pain to fully subside.

Back pain may be triggered due to any number of reasons that include stress, prolonged sitting or a sudden jerk. So, unless you are suffering from repeated occurrence of a back pain, an imaging test may be unwarranted. Imaging tests may sometime suggest benign abnormalities that are not the real cause of the back pain but may lead down the path of a costly and unnecessary surgery.

However, there are a few situations where an imaging test may be suggested right away, such as.

  • Pain that is accompanied with loss of feeling or strength in your legs
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Problem with your natural reflexes
  • High fever
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • A family history of cancer

Note: The purpose of this article is to inform so you are aware when such a test is advised and can discuss with your doctor if a test is really needed based on your condition. Our team is committed to helping you make well-informed decisions. We hope you like this article and would like us to publish similar information in future. Please like our Facebook page to express your support.



  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4339077/

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