Arriving at a spinal stenosis diagnosis
Whether you have recently received a spinal stenosis diagnosis or believe this condition may be the source of your chronic pain, it can be comforting to learn more about this condition and how doctors determine it as the underlying cause of symptoms. The following overview of the diagnostic process can make you a more empowered and informed patient as you seek treatment that can help you regain the life you’ve been missing.
How is spinal stenosis diagnosed?
Neck and back pain are both extremely common and can normally be traced to something as simple as a minor strain or sprain. However, if your pain lasts for more than a few days to a week, it is probably a good idea to visit your doctor for an evaluation. This appointment normally begins with a careful review of your medical history and a series of questions about your lifestyle and any activities you participate in that might accelerate the onset of spine conditions like spinal stenosis.
Once the review is completed, your physician should conduct a physical examination involving movement tests in an attempt to locate the area in the spinal column that is affected. You may also be referred to a medical diagnostics center to confirm the spinal stenosis diagnosis and ensure an underlying issue, like a tumor or infection, isn’t the cause of pain. Types of common medical imaging tests include:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan
Treatments for spinal stenosis
Once your doctor confirms a spinal stenosis diagnosis, he or she will outline the various treatment options that are available for the condition. While many treatments can be performed at home, it is still important to work closely with your physician to select treatments that take your overall health, other medications, age and other variables into account. For a large number of patients with spinal stenosis, a combination of low-impact exercises, stretches, anti-inflammatory drugs and heat therapy can provide the relief needed to return to normal activities.
If after several weeks or months of conservative treatment you are still struggling with persistent neck or back pain, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our minimally invasive spine surgery that is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^
Let us review your spinal stenosis diagnosis and provide you with a no-cost review of your most recent MRI or CT scan* to see if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.