Spinal Test Procedures

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Testing for Back Pain and Neck Pain

Prior to beginning any treatment, Medical Evaluation and Diagnostic Testing procedures should be performed, to determine the treatment process that will be most effective. Here are some of the testing procedures that can be performed to help evaluate the cause of back pain and design an effective treatment.

X-Rays
An X-Ray ‘sees through’ the soft tissue and produces an image that can be used to evaluate bones, joints and degenerative lesions in the spine.

Cat Scan (CT)
A CT is called for as it can penetrate the denser materials like bone and cartilage. When problems are suspected in the bones or when a patient can’t obtain an MRI a CT is usually performed.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
The most common test to evaluate the lumbar spine. An MRI can see both soft and dense parts of the body and can evaluate bones, discs, joints, as well as nerves and other softer tissues.

Myelogram
A myelogram is a special x-ray procedure that is done to visualize the spinal cord and nerves following the injection of contrast media (x-ray dye) into the subarachnoid (spinal) space.  A myelogram is a procedure that involves multiple images.

Discography
A discography is a procedure to determine whether a particular disc in the spine is causing chronic back pain and at what level it is likely to be at.

Emg
The EMG/Nerve Conduction Study can be recommended to evaluate the electrical activity of a nerve root of the arms or legs.

Bone Density
A Bone Density test usually takes only minutes. It is done while fully clothed by a non-invasive scan.

Bone Scan
A bone scan is a nuclear scanning test to find abnormalities in bone.  A bone scan is performed by injecting radioactive material into a vein, this material is attracted to areas of high bone activity.  Except for the needle stick to give the injection, a bone scan is painless. The test usually takes up to three hours for the injected material to land and another hour for the scan, itself.