getting a referral for an MRI

Welcome to Spine-health’s Lower Back Pain patient community. You can also read doctor approved Lower Back Pain Articles and watch Lower Back Pain Videos.
7 posts / 0 new
Last post
Anonymous (not verified)
Title: Member
getting a referral for an MRI

I have low pack pain, mild sciatic pain in my right leg. I am 26 years old, and the sciatic pain started after a snowboarding session 9 months ago.

I am working with a chiropractor on physical therapy for 2 months, but the pain hasn't reduced.

Based on the symptoms, I believe that I have a bulged disc in the L5-S1 region, and planning to get an MRI for accurate diagnosis.

I called my nearest orthopedic hospital specializing in spine issues. They don't have appointments for another 2 months!!

Do I need an orthopedic specialist for getting a referral for an MRI scan. Can't I get the referral from the chiropractor, or a general practitioner. I need to use my insurance(GreatWest PPO) for paying part of my expenses.

Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 07/07/2008 - 7:00am

Love your picture BTW, almost used that myself!! I got my referral from my primary doctor. I demanded he refer it though, since for 6 months he insisted it was only "muscle spasms" and for some reason didn't feel sending me in for an MRI was worth it... grrrrr And yes, you may have to wait a couple of months to get in, they are usually very busy! Your primary doctor may also refer you to an imaging place other than the one you have already tried, and you might get in sooner.

Let us know how things work out for you.

Good luck,

dilauro's picture
Last seen: 4 hours 8 min ago
Title: Moderator
Joined: 06/16/2008 - 9:41pm
Hi sceptrum

For a Spine-Health Site introduction, Click on :

Welcome To Spine-Health

If you have any questions, feel free to contact (PM) any one of the Moderators here Priestess , Bruce , Paulgla, DiLauro

The Spine-Health Web site offers so much more than these Member Forums.
Check the various tabs at the top of the Spine-Health page and you will find so much that is offered here.

Please feel free to contact me at or send me a message


As Amanda said, you should be able to get your Primary Care doctor or even your chiropractor to order a MRI. Some doctors will not authorize one (based on insurance requirements) until they do an evaluation of you and decide that a MRI is warranted. And you want to have the MRI covered by insurance, because if not, you are looking at about $900 for the Image and about another $750 to review it.

Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Moderator
Dont laugh at me

lovescorgis (not verified)
Title: Member
getting a referral for an MRI

Hi there...regarding having to wait two months. Often one has to wait but here's what I do and what I tell people. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. They told me I had to wait six weeks. You want to get on their cancellation list. Then every morning you want to call them and ask them if there were any openings. You want them to make sure everyone knows your name.

The more you call, the more they won't forget and will want to give you the test and get rid of you hopefully. I try to remember to always be nice when I'm also calling all the time. One catches more flies from honey than vinegar.

Unfortunately, I had so much trouble getting in that I had two family members call and talk to the doctor. By the time I was done with the daily check in's (friendly) and family, friends calling, they bumped me up to a much much quicker appointment. Obviously that may not work for everyone but it's a suggestion.

"Do I need an orthopedic specialist for getting a referral for an MRI scan. Can't I get the referral from the chiropractor, or a general practitioner. I need to use my insurance(GreatWest PPO) for paying part of my expenses."

As to what you is possible that every health provider has a different rule as HMO's do. I had my GP order my MRI, but each insurer has their own rules.

Best of luck, Liz

Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 06/23/2008 - 8:45pm

your family doc can order one with most all types of insurance. I would start there. Good luck and keep us posted. BTW- If you have ER coverage on your plan and the pain gets to be unbearable, go to the ER. They will do the MRI there or get you scheduled quickly for one and can also give you something for the pain. Good luck and keep us posted.

playgirlsally (not verified)
Title: Member
Sounds the same as me

I had to see a spinal urgeon for referral to the hospital so as the waiting list here in Devn was 2 months I paid £190 to see the specialist privately a week later, he then put me back onto the NHs waiting list for a micro discectomy as I have a herniated disc on L5 S1 which is afecting my left bum cheek and back of the left leg and foot. Been having physio since january 08 for lower back pain then in may got referred for an MRI scan which I had on 14th June, saw the spinal consultant on 21st July and now waiting for the op date, have even put myself on the cancellation list as not been at work since 20th may, life is definately getting worse and am now on some very strong pain killers for the pain which knock me out most of the time too. Roll on the NHS getting me in........................

jade2 (not verified)
Title: Member

sceptrum- I had MRIs ordered by all kinds of drs including chiropractor, primary care dr, ortho surgeon, neuro surgeon, pain med dr..... I think any dr can order an MRI but it may need to be pre-authorized or pre-approved by the insurance co. As it is a PPO, they may have rules for them to pay for MRIs. Confused jade