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Alan G. What if I have an abnormal MRI?

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by Guest, Jul 1, 2015.

  1. Guest

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    Question
    Can a person with chronic back -neck pain be helped by the TMS method only if the pain is psychosomatic and there are no clinical issues with his/her spine? Can a person with clear MRI findings still benefit from the method?
     
  2. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    Answer
    The answer is: probably.

    Most people have structural abnormalities on their MRI. In fact, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 64% of people with no back pain had a disc bulge or herniation.

    In many cases, findings on an MRI are incidental, meaning the findings are real, but not directly responsible for the pain. Our bodies are robust, and can often tolerate tears and bulges and degeneration without pain.

    That being said, some structural findings are relevant. Not everything is TMS.

    Generally, if I'm referred someone who has real structural findings, I'll assess for TMS (history of other pain conditions, pain moving around, inconsistency of symptoms, etc.) and will also refer them to a TMS physician for a proper diagnosis.

    A diagnosis of TMS from a physician who specializes in discerning meaningful structural findings from incidental ones serves two purposes: first, it allows me to treat the patient with a clearer understanding of the cause of their pain, second, because acceptance of the diagnosis is an important part of recovery, a TMS diagnosis serves as a wonderful psychological intervention for the patient as well. It allows them to more readily accept that their pain is not structurally caused and begin to neutralize the fear associated with their pain.

    Alan


    Any advice or information provided here does not and is not intended to be and should not be taken to constitute specific professional or psychological advice given to any group or individual. This general advice is provided with the guidance that any person who believes that they may be suffering from any medical, psychological, or mindbody condition should seek professional advice from a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions. No general advice provided here should be taken to replace or in any way contradict advice provided by a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions.

    The general advice and information provided in this format is for informational purposes only and cannot serve as a way to screen for, identify, or diagnose depression, anxiety, or other psychological conditions. If you feel you may be suffering from any of these conditions please contact a licensed mental health practitioner for an in-person consultation.

    Questions may be edited for brevity and/or readability.

     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015

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