Executive Chiropractic of Iowa Questions The Curiosity of MRIs

MRI. What does it do for West Des Moines back pain and related leg pain? That is a intriguing question. Diagnosing West Des Moines lumbar spinal stenosis doesn’t always require an MRI for a clear diagnosis. MRI images can be enlightening…and calling for clinical tests to determine what those images really mean. An MRI is a familiar test to many West Des Moines chiropractic patients wanting West Des Moines back pain relief, but the MRI’s arranging and results require cautious thought as to when they are ordered and what they really mean for the chiropractic care of spinal stenosis at Executive Chiropractic of Iowa.


Spinal stenosis is a normal condition and the most common indicator for spinal back surgery in the over-65 age group. With the growth of this group, by 2025 59% of them are expected to have spinal stenosis. (1) Many times your West Des Moines chiropractor can identify spinal stenosis with only a few questions and physical examination findings without an MRI. Your West Des Moines chiropractor may use the MRI as a verifying trial of the West Des Moines chiropractic clinical examination diagnosis previously determined just by examining you.


In the event of a disc extrusion causing spinal stenosis where the West Des Moines herniated disc escapes its outer bands and seeps out into the spinal canal physically compressing and chemically inflaming the spinal nerve, an MRI revealing this many times bodes well for the MRI’s owner. A year later, whether managed surgically or non-surgically, the back-related sciatica patient had less leg pain. In this case an MRI does not help much in determining which patient would do better with early surgery or prolonged conservative care. (2) And the healing of these West Des Moines spinal stenosis related extrusions takes time and good, guided care like that from Executive Chiropractic of Iowa.


Understand that as rates for spinal surgery rise – ten times across the US – so too do the rates of advanced spinal imaging. In one study, areas with more MRIs have more spine surgeries (and spinal stenosis surgery exactly). (3) Know too that what a surgeon notices on MRI affects how he or she manages the spinal back surgery for stenosis. He/She considers the extent and location of nerve compression and degenerative changes at adjacent levels. Experienced surgeons agreed more with each other’s interpretations of MRI images than less experienced surgeons. (1) Experienced chiropractors like yours at Executive Chiropractic of Iowa also are more proficient at recognizing West Des Moines spinal stenosis as the diagnosis.


Treat it actively. Don’t rely on passive care like bed rest. That is old school care. Give it time. Take part in the active, conservative care your West Des Moines chiropractor shares with you for at least 6-8 weeks to witness some change because there is no clear difference between surgical (though faster relief may come) and non-surgical care after a year or two. (4) Executive Chiropractic of Iowa uses the Cox Technic System of Spine Pain Management for West Des Moines spinal stenosis and back pain relief care. The 50% Rule guides treatment frequency and treatment progress as well as decision-making as to when/if an MRI is necessary (if you have not had one done) or surgical or other care consultation turns out to be necessary.

CONTACT Executive Chiropractic of Iowa

Schedule a West Des Moines chiropractic appointment to see your West Des Moines chiropractic back pain specialist about your West Des Moines back pain and sciatica to take the curiosity out of the question about MRI’s role in your West Des Moines back pain treatment plan. 

West Des Moines MRIs for spinal stenosis may be revealing…or confusing. 
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"This information and website content is not intended to diagnose, guarantee results, or recommend specific treatment or activity. It is designed to educate and inform only. Please consult your physician for a thorough examination leading to a diagnosis and well-planned treatment strategy. See more details on the DISCLAIMER page. Content is reviewed by Dr. James M. Cox I."