How is a spinal stenosis diagnosis made?

A spinal stenosis diagnosis typically requires the diagnosis of another spinal condition, such as degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis or spondylolisthesis. This stems from the fact that the leading cause of the narrowing of the spinal canal is the misalignment, inflammation or deterioration of an anatomical component of the spine.

Once a physician has determined that a patient does, in fact, have a degenerative spinal condition and is able to make a spinal stenosis diagnosis, he or she will typically prescribe a regimen of conservative treatments. Read on to learn more about the diagnostic process and the various treatments available for spinal stenosis.

Spinal stenosis diagnostic process

Most physicians will begin the process of making a spinal stenosis diagnosis by asking a series of questions, such as:

  • What symptoms have you been experiencing and for how long?
  • What methods have you utilized to relieve your pain? Have they provided any relief?
  • Do you have any medical conditions?
  • Does anyone in your family have a history of spinal arthritis, degenerative disc disease or any other spinal condition?

This question-and-answer session is then typically followed by a physical examination to test the patient’s reflexes, check for muscle weakness and examine the spine. Diagnostic imaging tests, such as an X-ray, CT scan or MRI, might also be ordered so the physician can view the inner workings of the spine.

Treating spinal stenosis

The majority of patients who receive a spinal stenosis diagnosis will be able to alleviate their symptoms through the use of conservative techniques, such as anti-inflammatories, physical therapy and chiropractic visits. If a patient is unable to find relief after following a conservative treatment regimen for several weeks or months, his or her physician may recommend surgery.

Before consenting to traditional open spine surgery, patients might wish to learn about the minimally invasive procedures offered by Laser Spine Institute. Our procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, and they don’t require lengthy recovery.^ Contact us to learn more and to schedule your initial consultation.

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck or back pain. Our surgeons use a less than 1-inch incision and muscle-sparing techniques in order to alleviate symptoms while resulting a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine procedures.^

At Laser Spine Institute, our procedures are performed in state-of-the-art facilities located throughout the country that are built around patient-centered care. To find out if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery, reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for a no-cost MRI review.* We are here to help guide you through your journey to wellness.

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