Physical Exam, X-rays, CT Scans, and MRIs to Diagnose Spinal Stenosis. Diagnosing spinal stenosis can be challenging. The symptoms can mimic those of other conditions, plus the symptoms can come and go. To figure out the cause of your spinal stenosis, your doctor will need to perform several exams and tests.
How do you diagnose spinal stenosis?
How is spinal stenosis diagnosed?
- X-ray, MRI scan, or CT scan to view images of your spine.
- electromyelogram to check the health of spinal nerves.
- bone scan to look for damage or growths in your spine.
Does spinal stenosis always show on MRI?
Since spinal stenosis is a gradual onset condition, the symptoms tend to start slowly and worsen over time. In fact, spinal stenosis may appear on an MRI or a CT scan without the patient having any symptoms at all.
Can a bone scan detect spinal stenosis?
Bone Scan. A bone scan is not a test that will detect spinal stenosis, but it can be helpful to look for problems that may be related to spinal stenosis. A bone scan is performed by injecting radioactive material into a vein, this material is attracted to areas of high bone activity.
Will I end up in a wheelchair with spinal stenosis?
The symptoms are often so gradual, that patients seek medical attention very late in the course of this condition. Patients may be so disabled and weak that they require the use of a wheelchair for mobility. In rare instances, severe spinal stenosis can cause paraplegia and/or bowel/bladder incontinence.
What can be mistaken for spinal stenosis?
But here’s the catch: other conditions, including polyneuropathy, myopathy, and joint pain from osteoarthritis, can mimic spinal stenosis symptoms-which can lead to painful, expensive, and unnecessary surgery.
Does spinal stenosis hurt all the time?
Spinal stenosis is generally not progressive. The pain tends to come and go, but it usually does not progress with time. The natural history with spinal stenosis, in the majority of patients, is that of episodic periods of pain and dysfunction.
What causes spinal stenosis to flare up?
The most common cause of spinal stenosis is osteoarthritis, the gradual wear and tear that happens to your joints over time. Spinal stenosis is common because osteoarthritis begins to cause changes in most people’s spines by age 50. That’s why most people who develop symptoms of spinal stenosis are 50 or older.
What happens if you let spinal stenosis go untreated?
It occurs from spinal stenosis that causes pressure on the spinal cord. If untreated, this can lead to significant and permanent nerve damage including paralysis and death. Symptoms may affect your gait and balance, dexterity, grip strength and bowel or bladder function.
Can spinal stenosis be missed on an MRI?
Conclusions: Routine standing lateral radiographs should be standard practice to identify DS, as nearly 1/3 of cases will be missed on supine MRI.
Can spinal stenosis cause hip pain?
A condition related to degeneration of the lower back creating narrowing of the spinal canal or adjacent areas is called spinal stenosis and frequently causes pain in the hip region.