About Weight Bearing MRI
• Weight-bearing MRI (WBMRI) is performed while individual is standing.
• Most people experience pain while standing or sitting and lie down to relieve the pain.
• Body weight compresses tissues and stresses tissue more than lying down without body weight.
• Conventional Non-weight-bearing MRI performed lying down in the position where pain is relived.
• Research shows WBMRI shows 20-30% more abnormalities conventional MRI.
Body weight compresses tissues and stresses ligaments and tendon. Most individuals report more pain or symptoms when they are standing and these tissues are compressed. Many of these individuals ask to lie down to relieve their pain and “take the weight off the painful structure”. Unfortunately, most imaging studies are performed in this horizontal or non-weight bearing recumbent position with the “pressure off” the painful structure. Experience with weight-bearing MRI of the spine has shown 20-30% new or larger MRI findings during weight-bearing compared to conventional MRI examinations performed with the patient lying down.
It is like a flat tire on a car. When the car is on a service rack without weight, the tire is round and everything looks fine. When the weight of the auto is applied to the tire, the tire (or intervertebral disc) flattens and bulges outward. The same happens with intervertebral discs that bulge or herniate when body weight is applied while standing and the nerve root is compressed whereas no compression is visible while lying down.