Lower Back Pain: MRI & CT Scans

Low back pain is one of the most frequently seen issues in our physiotherapy clinic.Often scans are not necessary in order to treat back pain but occasionally they are warranted.

Below is a diagram showing findings on MRI scans carried out on people with no back pain symptoms.As you can see there are huge numbers of disc degeneration findings on these scans despite these people having no back pain whatsoever.


Nearly one third of people in their 20’s (with no history of back pain) showed disc degeneration, disc bulge, and disc protrusion. They are a normal variation of how our backs look on scans.

This tells us that some of the so called ‘abnormalities’ found on MRI scans are in fact quite normal. The really good news is that if these have been found on a scan you have had, it does not mean a lifetime of pain.

The findings increase as the age increases. Similar to how grey hair or wrinkles are a normal part of a change in our skin or hair, disc narrowing is simply a part of how our bones change. So while these terms may seem terrifying they are in fact more common than you might think.

Should you have any queries on scans you can contact North Cork Physio Clinic at (022) 42999.