If you ask your GP imaging of your back for low back pain you will probably get it ,even though most of the time it’s unnecessary. The reason s given are that GPs don’t have the time to explain why imaging( Xrays, MRIs and Ultrasounds for example) has no value in your treatment or are afraid of being sued in some cases.
This research comes from some work done in the USA. An hypothetical 45-year-old woman with nonspecific lower back pain and no red flag symptoms requested a computerised tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. The respondents answered what they would do in this situation and what factors would influence their decision. Only 3.3% of clinicians believed the hypothetical patient would benefit from imaging, and 77.1% expressed concern that ordering imaging could lead to additional unnecessary tests or procedures. Yet 57.8% of the clinicians worried that the patient would be upset if she did not undergo a CT or MRI, and 25.8% thought they would not have enough time during the visit to talk about risks and benefits of imaging
Further, 75.7% of the respondents thought they would not be able to refer her to a specialist unless they did imaging first. Just more than a quarter (27.2%) of clinicians reported concern that not ordering imaging might leave them vulnerable to a malpractice claim.
I highlight this research just to add to the debate on whether you need imaging or not. So the suggestion is…don’t ask for it. Wait for it to be offered . The vast majority of the respondents, 94.2%, would not recommend an MRI or CT simply to satisfy the patient’s request, and 89.4% felt they would have a “good strategy” for discussing with the patient why they would not order the imaging.