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What You Need to Know about X-Rays and MRI's and Hip Pain

June 10, 2022

Today we're going to talk about what your MRI or X-ray really means as it relates to hip pain and diagnosing hip conditions. You might be surprised that those images don’t mean as much as you think they do in relationship to your hip pain.

Research now shows that a significant amount of people (69 -73%) who are not experiencing hip pain have an X-ray or MRI showing a labral tear. The study in the British Medical Journal found the same result for arthritis. Over 80% of older adults who do not have hip pain shows signs of arthritis in imaging. And many people with hip pain do not show arthritis. Hip pain and arthritis or labral tears are not directly linked together.

What we're really finding in the imaging is natural signs of aging as well as historical damage. If you've ever hit your fingernail with a hammer, you know that it hurts pretty bad immediately. Then a few weeks later the fingernail usually looks really bad. It’s black and blue and might be starting to fall off. Somebody might say,  “Oh my gosh, that looks really painful!” But it's not. It was painful a month ago, but it's not painful now.

The same can be said for X-ray and MRI imaging. The images show historical damage as well as natural signs of aging. What we shouldn’t say is, “You have arthritis in your hip therefore that's the cause of your pain.” We really need to find the real cause of hip pain, in order to treat it properly.

Imaging is still important, of course. Especially in determining if any bones are broken. But when we use images that show generalized ageing or historical damage and say those things are causing patients’ hip pain, that’s a problem that is costly and can be a gateway to unnecessary surgery.

Arthritis or a labral tear on an X-ray or MRI doesn't mean as much as you think it should mean.

Instead of imaging, we should use movement physical therapy to diagnose and treat the real causes of hip pain. Functional movement physical therapy turns off the pain and is really our guiding light to fixing hip dysfunction, which is the real cause of hip pain.

If you would like to request a Free copy of our latest book, The Truth about Hip Pain: How to Find Relief that Lasts Forever, just click here: Hip Pain Relief Now (hippainsucks.com)

If you would like to come in and talk with one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy about the real causes of your hip pain, call us at 231-944-6541 or visit: https://www.free-assessment.com/

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