Pain, MRI Findings & Acupuncture 

 October 30, 2018

By  Steve Hoffman

Many patients come in to my office for relief of back or neck pain that they are experiencing. Often, they say that they had an MRI and it shows that the discs in their spine have degenerated or are bulging and they have been told by their doctor that this why they have pain. In many cases this is false, and they have been given bad information. Did you know that a study was done on over 1200 healthy, asymptomatic individuals and that MRIs on the neck revealed that 87.6% of these individuals had bulging discs? A full 75% of those in their 20’s had bulging discs! All these individuals were asymptomatic, they had NO pain whatsoever. But if these individuals were in pain their doctors would have pointed to the MRI and said, yep, there’s the problem. Another MRI study of the low back in over 3000 perfectly healthy, pain free individuals showed that 80% of those in their 50’s had disc degeneration and 36% had disc protrusion! The imaging showed that these individuals should have been in pain but were not.

Disc Abnormalities

Can disc degeneration and/or bulging discs cause pain. Yes, they can. If they impinge on a nerve or obstruct blood flow, pain can result. But as these studies showed, there is not always a 1:1 correlation. So why is this a problem. The patient is left with the “knowledge” that the abnormality is what is causing the pain, and this does two things: one, it leaves them with few and often misleading options. If you are trying to treat something that is not causing the problem, how successful do you think you will be! Secondly, this “knowledge” can often perpetuate a pain syndrome. The patient thinks that there is something wrong, so they will just have to deal with and manage the pain.

How Acupuncture Can Help

If the pain that you are experiencing is not the result of an abnormality, acupuncture can increase circulation, stimulate the immune system and induce the body to produce pain modulating endorphins. This will decrease your pain and help your body heal the problem. Want to know something else, if your pain is related to an abnormality, acupuncture can still do all these things, helping reduce your pain and heal the problem.

If you are experiencing back, neck or any other kind of pain call today for a free 30-minute consultation. You can leave the MRI at home!

Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!

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