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Overcoming the Challenge of Unreliable X-Rays, MRIs, CTs, EMGs, and NCVs

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IMC’s approach to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) is different because it overcomes a poorly understood and very serious challenge in orthopedic care: the challenge of incomplete, inaccurate, and imprecise diagnoses. The vast majority of diagnostic methods in the orthopedic domain—including x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), electromyogram (EMG), and nerve conduction velocity (NCV) procedures/tests—have disturbingly high rates of false positives. A false positive occurs when a simple, incidental irregularity on a diagnostic test is misdiagnosed or misconstrued as being an abnormal clinical finding or a concerning anomaly when it actually has no clinical significance or negligible clinical significance. In the case of orthopedic diagnostics, the risk is that an irregularity (i.e., an alleged finding) may be viewed as a causal abnormality or anomaly vis-à-vis a patient’s (unrelated or minimally related) pain and loss of function when what could be erroneously construed as a finding is merely a correlated physiological artifact. That is, the vast majority of physiological irregularities—“findings” that might be erroneously labeled as clinically significant abnormalities and anomalies—have either (1) no correlation with pain and loss of physical function whatsoever or (2) only slight correlations with pain and loss of physical function.