Spine Diagnosis Procedures
Before your doctor can diagnose your condition and design a treatment plan, a complete history and physical exam are necessary. By following a proven process, your doctor will determine the cause of your condition. Also, diagnosing Spine Problems includes the following techniques:
Your Spine Specialist will want to get a history of your condition. Initially, you may fill out a written form while you wait to see the doctor. Meanwhile, take time to think about everything that relates to your pain and write it down. Because, the more information you share with your doctor, the easier your problem will be to diagnose. In addition, a physical history can give your doctor insight into when the pain began, anything that could have caused an injury, your lifestyle, physical factors that might be causing pain, and any family history of similar problems.
After reading through your written history, your physician will ask more questions that relate to the information you have given. Moreover, your doctor may want to know:
If you have had an injury
- where you are feeling pain and how intense it is
- if the pain radiates to other parts of your body
- if and where you are feeling numbness or weakness
- what factors make the pain feel better or worse
- whether you have had this problem or something like it before
- about any recent weight loss, fever, or illness
- if you’ve had problems with your bladder or bowels
After taking your history, your physician will give you a physical exam. However, this allows the doctor to rule out possible causes of pain and try to determine the source of your problem. Thus, the areas of your body that will be examined depend upon where you are experiencing pain — neck, lower back, arms, legs, etc.
- The motion of Your Spine – Is there pain when you twist, bend, or move? If so, where? In addition, your doctor will ask if you have lost some flexibility.
- Weakness -The doctors will conduct tests on the patient’s muscles to determine strength. Your doctor might ask for you to try to push or lift your arm, hand, or leg when light resistance is put against them.
- Pain – The doctor may try to determine if you have tenderness in certain areas.
- Sensory Changes – Can you feel certain sensations in specific areas of the feet or hands?
- Reflex Changes – Your tendon reflexes might undergo testing, such as below the kneecap and behind the ankle in the Achilles tendon.
- Motor Skills – The doctor might ask the patient to walk on their heels or toes.
- Special Signs – Your doctor will also check for any “red flags” that could indicate something other than spinal/vertebrae problems. Also, some signs of other problems include tenderness in certain areas, a fever, an abnormal pulse, chronic steroid use (which leads to loss of bone mass), or rapid weight loss.
Questions and Answers
What diagnostic tests are used to diagnose Spine Problems
To diagnose spine problems, healthcare professionals may utilize various diagnostic tests and imaging studies, including:
- X-rays: X-rays provide a basic visualization of the bones in the spine and can help identify fractures, bone abnormalities, or alignment issues.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to generate detailed images of the spine’s soft tissues, such as discs, nerves, and ligaments. It can help diagnose conditions like herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or spinal tumors.
- Computed Tomography (CT) Scan: CT scans use X-ray technology to create cross-sectional images of the spine. They provide detailed information about bone structures and can help assess fractures, spinal deformities, or spinal infections.
- Electromyography (EMG): EMG involves measuring electrical activity in muscles and nerves. It can help evaluate nerve function and identify conditions such as radiculopathy or peripheral neuropathy.
- Discography: Discography is a diagnostic procedure where contrast dye is injected into a spinal disc to assess its condition and identify the source of pain.
- Bone Scan: A bone scan involves injecting a small amount of radioactive material into the bloodstream, which helps identify areas of abnormal bone activity and detect conditions such as infections, fractures, or tumors.
When should I consider seeing a doctor for a Spine Problem
It is advisable to seek medical evaluation for spine problems if you experience persistent or worsening symptoms, including:
- Chronic or severe back or neck pain
- Radiating pain or numbness in the arms, legs, or buttocks
- Loss of sensation or weakness in the extremities
- Difficulty walking or maintaining balance
- Bowel or bladder dysfunction
- Traumatic injury to the spine
- Progressive or worsening symptoms over time
What does the diagnostic process involve for Spine Problems
The diagnostic process for spine problems typically includes:
- Medical history assessment: The healthcare professional will inquire about your symptoms, their duration, any triggering events, and your medical history.
- Physical examination: The doctor will conduct a physical examination, assessing your range of motion, muscle strength, reflexes, and any signs of spinal abnormalities.
- Imaging tests: Depending on the suspected condition, the healthcare professional may order X-rays, MRI, CT scans, or other specialized imaging studies to visualize the spine’s structures and identify any abnormalities.
- Additional tests: In some cases, additional tests such as EMG, bone scans, or blood tests may be recommended to further evaluate the spine problem.
After completing the history and physical examination, your doctors will conduct diagnostic tests in order for them to find the genesis of your condition. The tests include the following:
- Bone Scan
- CT Scan
- Facet Joint Block
- Lab Test
- Spinal Tap
Diagnosing Spine Conditions at the Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute
The Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute is a leading provider of spine care in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The institute’s doctors are board-certified and fellowship-trained spine surgeons who have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating a wide range of spine problems.
The institute offers a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation that includes a physical exam, imaging studies, and a consultation with a spine surgeon. In addition, the evaluation helps the surgeon to determine the cause of the patient’s spine problem and to develop a personalized treatment plan.
The institute offers a variety of treatment options for spine problems, including non-surgical treatments, such as physical therapy and bracing, and surgical treatments, such as spinal fusion and discectomy. Also, the institute’s doctors work with patients to develop a treatment plan that is right for their individual needs.
If you are experiencing spine pain or other spine problems, the Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute is a great place to seek a diagnosis and treatment. In conclusion, the institute’s doctors have the expertise and experience to help you get back to living your life pain-free.
Reasons for patients to come to the Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute for spine problems:
- The institute’s doctors are experts in diagnosing and treating a wide range of spine problems.
- The institute offers a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation that helps to determine the cause of the patient’s spine problem.
- The institute offers a variety of treatment options, including non-surgical and surgical treatments.
- The institute’s doctors work with patients to develop a treatment plan that is right for their individual needs.
If you are experiencing spine pain or other spine problems, the Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute is a great place to seek a diagnosis and treatment. The institute’s doctors have the expertise and experience to help you get back to living your life pain-free.