Because the back is so complex, getting the right spine pain diagnosis can be more difficult than with many other medical conditions. However, it is essential to get an accurate diagnosis in order to treat your pain as quickly and effectively as possible.
Dr. Hyun Bae is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and expert in treating spine pain. Along with the rest of his team at La Peer’s Disc Replacement Center of Excellence, Dr. Bae uses the latest and most effective techniques to discover the cause of your pain and devise an appropriate treatment. Call (888) 309-2848 today to set up your appointment.
Lumbar and Cervical Discography
A lumbar and cervical discography is a diagnostic test designed to assess the internal structure of a disc and determine if it is causing your back or neck pain. Before this test, your doctor will provide you with an intravenous sedative. A local anesthetic is injected to numb the area and ensure you feel no pain. A needle is then inserted into the disc and a saline solution injected. This solution allows X-ray images to show tears, scarring, or bulges in the disc.
Electrodiagnostic testing is a technique used to evaluate the function of the muscles and nerves and is helpful in determining the cause of neck or back pain, numbness, tingling, or loss of strength. There are two parts to electrodiagnostic testing. One part tests the nerves, while the other tests the muscles. During the nerve test, the doctor will place sensors over the nerves in the arms and legs and then stimulate them. The goal is to see how well the nerves are functioning. The muscle test is done by placing small needles in the muscles of the arms, legs, or back. These needles evaluate the electrical activity created by a muscle contraction, which lets doctors know how well the muscles are working.
MRI, X-Ray, CT Scans, Myelogram
Doctors use a variety of imaging techniques to achieve an accurate spine pain diagnosis. The most common of these imaging techniques include MRI, X-ray, CT scans, and myelogram.
- An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan uses magnets to produce detailed images of the spine. During the procedure, you will lie on a table. All jewelry and metal needs to be removed beforehand. The table will then slide into a space that contains the magnet, and the images will be taken.
- X-ray is a quick and painless procedure that produces images of the structures inside the body. During the test, X-ray beams are passed through the body and absorbed in different amounts depending on the density of what they pass through.
- A CT scan (computerized tomography) is a test that combines a series of X-rays images taken from different angles. The results present a cross-sectional image of the bones and soft tissues inside the body. During this test, the patient lies on a narrow table, which moves through a “doughnut hole” or gantry while images are taken of the body.
- A myelogram uses X-rays and a special dye to make images of the bones of the spine and fluid-filled spaces between them. Before the test, dye will be injected into the back with a thin needle. During the test, the patient lies still on a table while X-ray images are taken.
A discogram is used to evaluate the discs in the spine. The test generally takes between half an hour and an hour to complete. Before the discogram, dye is injected into the center of one or more intervertebral discs. The patient is also given a sedative to help him or her relax and a local anesthetic to numb any pain. Once the contrast dye is injected into the disc, the doctor will use a fluoroscopy to see if the dye stays inside the disc or spreads. If the dye spreads, then the disc is damaged.
Bone Density Scan
A bone density scan is a test that uses X-rays to measure the bone mass in the spine. For this procedure, patients will be asked to lie back on a table. The machine will then scan the bones and measure the amount of radiation they absorb.
Contact a Los Angeles Spine Pain Expert
There are a wide variety of techniques for getting a spine pain diagnose. The best way to find out which is right for you is to contact a spine expert like one of the renowned Los Angeles orthopedic surgeons at La Peer. Our doctors specialize in helping his patients overcome spine pain. Call today at (888) 309-2848 to set up your consultation.
Next, read about herniated discs.