Researchers at the University of Washington, in Seattle, are out with a new study regarding when to send older patients for x-rays and other scans. Traditionally, doctors were more likely to have their elderly patients undergo radiographic testing sooner than their younger patients. The thinking was that the elderly have more possible causes for the onset of back pain. Among these is cancer. Doctors were thus hesitant to wait to see if those patients over 65 saw their back pain resolve without intervention. But the new study shows there is no reason not to wait. The outcomes for both the young and the old is the same at the 12-month mark. This is another in a recent line of studies showing that less, and not more, medical intervention is often the best approach. It remains to be seen if doctors accept this new approach. An elderly patient with a sudden onset of back pain may not be willing to wait six weeks to see what happens. This change in approach could take a very long time to become best practices.