There has been a lot of research recently about the psychology of low back and neck pain.
One of the key parts of this is patients becoming fixated on a particular diagnoses from an x-ray or scan. Health professionals often fail to point out to patients that degeneration of various types and to various degrees is a normal part of ageing process and should not necessarily give the patient their symptoms.
Once the person has seen a scan showing a disk bulge for example then statistics show they are less likely to get better simply knowing they have a disk bulge. The Australian Physio association warns against getting unnecessary imaging for patients presenting with back pain not only for this reason but also creating an unnecessary cost for the Australian taxpayer.
A lot of people expect to get a scan for anything these days. This is often not a good approach. Diagnostic imaging has a crucial role in the management and treatment of low back and neck pain, just not for everyone.
Have a close look at the table and see just how much of the population will be walking around everyday with spinal degeneration without any pain or symptoms at all (1):
1. Systematic literature review of imaging features of spinal degeneration in asymptomatic populations. 2015 by American Journal of Neuroradiology.