Getting a spinal stenosis diagnosis
In order to receive an accurate spinal stenosis diagnosis, it is necessary to visit a medical professional for a thorough physical evaluation. This is because to effectively treat the symptoms that frequently accompany this condition, the cause and location of the stenosis, or narrowing, must be identified. The most effective treatment can also depend on your specific medical history and other factors, so it is vital that you work closely with your doctor to get a personalized plan of care.
The Diagnostics Process
If you are dealing with an incidence of neck or back pain that is lasting for more than a few days, it is always a good idea to visit your primary care physician for an examination. If you are experiencing anxiety because you don’t know what this involves, learning about the steps involved in the diagnostic process can help put you at ease. Reaching a diagnosis for the cause of pain, whether for spinal stenosis or another condition, usually involves three important steps:
- Discussion of symptoms and review of medical history. During this question-and-answer session, your doctor will ask you to describe the symptoms you are experiencing, your lifestyle, diet, treatments previously attempted and other similar questions. The goal of this process is to gain an understanding of potential causes of your discomfort. You will also typically be asked about your family’s medical history, as many sources of neck and back pain can be inheritable.
- Physical examination. Your physician will apply pressure around your neck and back, test range of motion, examine neurological function and identify areas of pain to further understand the source of symptoms. This process might be uncomfortable, but it provides valuable information.
- Medical imaging. In order to accurately diagnose spinal stenosis, medical imaging is often required. An MRI or CT scan can provide an inside view of the spinal column and show the exact cause of narrowing, such as a bone spur or herniated disc material.
Treatment for spinal stenosis
Upon diagnosing spinal stenosis, initial treatment is usually a recommendation to begin or continue basic conservative treatment like rest, over-the-counter medication and hot and cold compression therapy. More involved nonsurgical treatment like physical therapy or epidural steroid injections may also be advised.
If you are still suffering from symptoms and you begin exploring your treatment options beyond conservative techniques, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery. Our outpatient spine procedures could provide you with the neck or back pain relief you require without the risks and difficulties of traditional open spine surgery.
We offer a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.