A good look at back pain

Here’s a guide to ordering and interpreting spinal radiology for this condition

Patients presenting with low back pain are often understandably anxious.


Many will request an MRI in the belief that it will reveal the cause of their pain.

For some, this belief is fuelled by coverage of their sports stars lining up for Monday morning MRIs, cementing the idea that such scans must be vital for accurate diagnosis and management.

In truth, MRI rarely provides a clear diagnosis for the cause of back pain, but does play a role in ruling out surgical and red flag conditions.