How do you diagnose spondylosis?

A physician can make a spondylosis diagnosis based on the results of several tests. Usually, the diagnostic process involves certain clinical assessments followed by one or more imaging scans. The signs of spondylosis aren’t usually apparent externally, which makes it particularly important for a physician to follow up a physical exam with an X-ray, CT scan or MRI.

Physical tests for a spondylosis diagnosis

When a patient comes in with neck or back pain, a physician may ask the patient to:

  • Stand up as straight as possible
  • Bend over while sitting or standing (or both)
  • Bend from side to side
  • Walk in a straight line
  • Extend one leg, then the other
  • Lean backward

While these tests can help a physician rule out other conditions, they are not sufficient to confirm a spondylosis diagnosis. An imaging scan is almost always required to complete the diagnostic process.

Imaging tests for spondylosis

A spondylosis diagnosis can usually be confirmed with an X-ray, CT scan or MRI. These images show the bones and joints of the spine, which can allow a physician to check for signs of degeneration. CT scans and MRIs also show soft tissues, which can help a physician rule out other conditions as well.

While some physicians have on-site imaging capabilities, others send their patients to nearby diagnostic facilities to have images taken for their spondylosis diagnosis. Usually, it takes only a few minutes to capture the necessary images, but it can take several days to process and evaluate the results.

Spondylosis treatment at Laser Spine Institute

If you’ve recently received a spondylosis diagnosis, you may be wondering about your treatment options. Your best bet is to talk to your physician about conservative therapies, and if those ultimately don’t work, you can always turn to Laser Spine Institute to find out if you’re a candidate for minimally invasive surgery. Contact us today to learn more.