Herniated disc MRI

Obtaining an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) can be a very important step in correctly diagnosing a herniated disc in your spine. Unlike an X-ray, which can only capture pictures of bone structure, an MRI uses a magnetic field and a computer to produce and record detailed images of the inner workings of your whole body. This technology is also capable of producing two-dimensional — or cross-sectional — views of the body, which greatly help physicians in identifying a herniated disc. MRI scans are still based on relatively new technology, but they have become essential in correctly diagnosing a variety of neck and back issues, like spinal stenosis, bone spurs and herniated discs.

An MRI scan has a number of distinct advantages that greatly benefit a herniated disc patient. The benefits of an MRI include:

  • Unobtrusive
  • Painless and free of radiation
  • Can focus on a particular part of the body
  • Extremely accurate

Herniated disc diagnosis with MRI

If you believe you are experiencing a herniated disc in the neck or back, the first step is to visit a physician. Your physician will be able to give you a full examination and review of your medical history to make a preliminary diagnosis. After that, you may be referred to an imaging specialist to perform an MRI to confirm and pinpoint the herniated disc diagnosis.

At the imaging center you will be placed into the tubular MRI machine for a body scan. You may remain enclosed in the MRI machine for up to an hour while the detailed scan of your spine or other area is completed. The MRI can show the exact condition of the herniated disc and surrounding spinal structures. This allows your physician to better understand the origin of the disc damage and resulting pain and develop the right treatment plan for you.

Treatment options

Most patients are able to successfully treat herniated disc pain with nonsurgical conservative treatments prescribed by their doctor. These include rest, hot/cold compression therapy and light exercise. When weeks or months of treatment do not bring a desired return to previous activity, surgery can then be explored.

If you are researching surgical options and have become concerned by some of the risks and unsuccessful outcomes of traditional open back surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute. We perform minimally invasive spine surgery, including minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization surgeries, which can treat some of the most severe herniated discs. Our Care Team can review your MRI to determine if you are a potential candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery, which can help you get your life back from pain.

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