7 Medical Tests You & Your Kids Don't Need

sinusitis

Do you need antibiotics or CT scans for sinusitis? Choosing Wisely says no.

Whether it’s an MRI for back pain or a CT scan after someone has fainted, doctors often order procedures for patients that they don’t need. A coalition of nine physician specialty groups has now released a list of those medical tests and procedures, saying they are likely a waste of time and money.

Called the Choosing Wisely campaign, the list — or group of lists, actually, as one was created by each specialty — was developed to help doctors and patients make better decisions about their healthcare and avoid 45 tests that are unnecessary.

As reported in the New York Times, the lists are an, “… unusually frank acknowledgment by physicians that many profitable tests and procedures are performed unnecessarily and may harm patients.” Why allow you or your children to undergo a CT scan or MRI that will increase radiation exposure when there are other tests that work just as well?

We took a look at the lists and below we share seven tests you and your children probably don’t need when it comes to everything from low back pain to headaches to asthma and more.

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  • Headaches 1 of 7
    Headaches
    The American College of Radiology says you don't need CT scans for simple headaches. If you're concerned, there are screening tests doctors can give to help identify whether you have an underlying condition causing the headaches, such as a tumor.
    Photo credit: iStock Photo
  • Asthma 2 of 7
    Asthma
    Doctors shouldn't diagnose asthma in you or your children without conducting spirometry, a test which measures lung capacity. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says that clinicians often rely solely upon symptoms when diagnosing and managing asthma, but these symptoms may be misleading and caused by something else. So spirometry is a test you actually do need!
    Photo credit: iStock Photo
  • Low Back Pain 3 of 7
    Low Back Pain
    The American Academy of Family Physicians says imaging tests like MRIs for low back pain are unnecessary in the first six weeks, unless you have "severe or progressive neurological deficits" such as abnormal reflexes or problems with walking or balance. They say low back pain is the fifth most common reason for all physician visits.
    Photo credit: iStock Photo
  • Sinusitis 4 of 7
    Sinusitis
    If you or your children have chronic sinusitis, do you really need a CT scan or antibiotics? No. Most sinusitis is viral and resolves on its own without antibiotic treatment in two weeks.
    Photo credit: iStock Photo
  • Pap Smears 5 of 7
    Pap Smears
    The American Academy of Family Physicians says teenaged girls don't need Pap smears. They say Pap smears for this age group can lead to "unnecessary anxiety, additional testing and cost."
    Photo credit: iStock Photo
  • Appendicitis 6 of 7
    Appendicitis
    The American College of Radiologists says children don't need CT scans when appendicitis is suspected. Ultrasounds will work just fine and will reduce your child's radiation exposure.
    Photo credit: Parents magazine
  • Fainting 7 of 7
    Fainting
    If you or your child faint, also called simple syncope, unless there's some evidence of seizure you probably don't need a CT scan or MRI.
    Photo credit: iStockPhoto

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