Insurance is Hard, and so is Healthcare.

As a consumer and patient, how do you get better medical care, not just more or more expensive medical care?

With content from The Medical Guide we will guide you in under 3 minutes, how to make decisions to get the medical care you deserve and the health outcomes you want, without breaking the bank and by putting YOU and YOUR FAMILY in control of medical decisions that may otherwise feel out of control.

Always consult with a medical professional before making healthcare decisions.

In this one minute video, learn The Simple Way of Lowering Your Chances of Back Surgery. (Hint: It doesn’t involve staying horizontal for the rest of your life.)

Medical Guide References:

Statement by the American Academy of Family Physicians about back pain imaging

Don’t do imaging for low back pain within the first six weeks, unless red flags are present.

Red flags include, but are not limited to, severe or progressive neurological deficits or when serious underlying conditions such as osteomyelitis are suspected. Imaging of the lower spine before six weeks does not improve outcomes, but does increase costs. Low back pain is the fifth most common reason for all physician visits.

Statement by the American College of Physicians about back pain imaging

Don’t obtain imaging studies in patients with non-specific low back pain.

In patients with back pain that cannot be attributed to a specific disease or spinal abnormality following a history and physical examination (e.g., non-specific low back pain), imaging with plain radiography, computed tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) does not improve patient outcomes.

Statement by the North American Spine Society about back pain imaging

Don’t recommend advanced imaging (e.g., MRI) of the spine within the first six weeks in patients with non-specific acute low back pain in the absence of red flags.

In the absence of red flags, advanced imaging within the first six weeks has not been found to improve outcomes, but does increase costs. Red flags include, but are not limited to: trauma history, unintentional weight loss, immunosuppression, history of cancer, intravenous drug use, steroid use, osteoporosis, age > 50, focal neurologic deficit and progression of symptoms.

Statement by the American Society of Anesthesiologists – Pain Medicine about back pain imaging

Avoid imaging studies (MRI, CT or X-rays) for acute low back pain without specific indications.

Imaging for low back pain in the first six weeks after pain begins should be avoided in the absence of specific clinical indications (e.g., history of cancer with potential metastases, known aortic aneurysm, progressive neurologic deficit, etc.). Most low back pain does not need imaging and doing so may reveal incidental findings that divert attention and increase the risk of having unhelpful surgery.

Statement by ChoosingWisely and Consumer Reports – Imaging Tests for Lower Back Pain: When you need them – and when you don’t

Includes the statement ‘back-pain sufferers who had an MRI in the first month were eight times more likely to have surgery … but didn’t recover faster’


About Author

Author of Six Books on Healthcare: Moral Hazard in American Healthcare / Healthcare Problems and Solutions / Understanding Health Insurance / Uninformed: The Plight of America's Patients / Transparency Metrics / Consumerism and Value Creation in American Healthcare - Specialty: Teaching consumers and insurance professionals how to identify and avoid unnecessary medical care...a huge and complex topic.

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