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Do Not Be Defined By Your MRI

Feb 25, 2021

By: Chad Burnham, DPT, FAFS, CSCS

Overcoming Your MRI Results

Are you one of those people that was told never to lift again because of your MRI results? How about this one…”How are you even walking”? Or just plain, “you have arthritis!”

My name is Chad Burnham and that’s what I was told at the age of 20 when I first started experiencing Low Back Pain (LBP). My MRI results confirmed left sided L4-S1 disc bulging and were consistent with my numbness and weakness in my left leg.

The doctor told me NO more squats, cleans, and deadlifts. Well that was not an answer that I was willing to accept…and you shouldn’t either!

You need to stop letting the MRI results dictate how you feel and what you can do. Besides the fact that MRIs can be expensive and overprescribed, they can actually cause more harm than good. So what does that even mean?

It means that now these patients have a picture and can associate their pain with the picture. But does the picture actually correlate to pain or dysfunction…The answer is NO! Not to mention you throw words at people like “Arthritis” or “Degenerative Disc Disease”. I mean really…we now have degenerative and disease in the same diagnosis. No wonder these patients feel worse!

Here is some truth for you: If you take a random sample of people without back pain and administer an MRI, the results would be shocking to you. Most people would actually have some sort of disc degeneration or disc bulge and have no pain! In fact 30% of 20 year olds, 60% of 50 year olds, and 84% of 80 year olds will have a diagnosed disc bulge…but no pain!

If those results are shocking to you then you will also be surprised to hear that these changes are just a normal part of doing life on earth (i.e. Aging Process). Because on earth we have this law…it’s called the law of gravity! But gravity is a good thing. It supplies us with the necessary axial loading to improve spinal stability and strength along with maintaining resiliency of our spine.

So now the question is…Are you going to be defined by your MRI? If the answer is NO after reading this blog then you are on your way to recovery already. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do based on your MRI picture. Look at my picture above. It looks terrible, but I feel great and have not missed a beat with my training. Now go move like a human and load that spine…Pain Free!

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