I just wanted to put up a little basic information about the purpose of MRI’s and other investigations which can be done in addition to more standard proceedures (ie – xrays). Many of my patients have an injury and want to know why the doctor only ordered xrays when they think they should have an MRI. Xrays will show only the bones – no soft tissue. Therefore x-rays will only show a fracture, dislocation or other bony injury. X-rays will show the spaces where the discs in the spine are but not the actual discs – whatever anyone may tell you, a “slipped disc” cannot be seen on an xray. Probably 80-90% of people will recover from their injuries without needing surgery or any other intervention. In most cases, the doctor will rule out a fracture and then send the patient to therapy to try conservative treatment first. If the PT doesn’t help or if the therapist notices any other unusual symptoms, an MRI will be ordered at that time. Usually this is 2-3 weeks from the original injury. Give your symptoms a chance to heal by themselves before making an ass out of yourself and demanding unnecessary tests. If you don’t get better, by all means, ask for additional investigations but give nature a chance first.