Imaging scans like MRIs don't help doctors decide how to treat back pain – the prescription is almost always rest and anti-inflammatories. But MRIs can lead doctors to find what seem to be abnormalities – such as a bulging disk that has nothing to do with your pain – which sometimes results in unnecessary surgery. As a rule of thumb, don't have an MRI until you've had pain for at least six weeks.
Credit: Getty Images
The 2014 Adventure Issue
From Iceland's Highway 1 to Utah's Canyonlands, an epic itinerary for modern explorers.
Plus: Building a Bigger Action Hero
ON NEWSSTANDS NOW
Duke Lacrosse and the Fog of Scandal
How Thailand's Most Notorious Prison Became a Fight Club
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