Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie,
MD, PhD, Senior Editor.
To the Editor: Dr Jarvik and colleagues1 found that simple radiographs and rapid MRI yielded
similar outcome for patients with back pain. Similarly, Kendrick et al2 previously reported that patients who had radiographs
had outcomes similar to those of patients who had no imaging at all. Taken
together, these 2 studies suggest that neither radiographs nor MRIs are useful
as routine diagnostic procedures for back pain. Comparing one useless diagnostic
procedure with a similarly useless one distracts from the fact that, in most
cases of back pain, no imaging is best and least expensive.
Ernst E. The Value of Diagnostic Tests for Low Back PainThe Value of Diagnostic Tests for Low Back Pain. JAMA. 2003;290(14):1851-1853. doi:10.1001/jama.290.14.1851-a