Time for school, spine school. Millions of people experience some type of back pain every year. Billions of precious dollars are spent chasing the pain. With these types of epidemic numbers, everyone can benefit from some education about spine pain. The answers to what's, why's and how's can help to dispel fear, frustration, and disappointment. Fear comes from the unknown. Frustration comes from the unclear. Disappointment comes from the unrealized. All of these "un" words can be undone with health education at spine school. Epidemics are solved with knowledge.
Come with me to school. I take on the questions and give you straight answers based on the latest research about the spine. With the right information, you can get on the road towards recovery. This information is not meant to replace a proper, thorough evaluation by the right doctor. Everyone is different and every situation is different; thus, individual evaluation is critical. However, not every doctor has the knowled...
Spondylolisthesis (spaun-di-lo-lie-thee-sis) is a mouthful and is a common cause of low back pain (although it can exist anywhere in the spine, the lumbar spine is the most common area affected). The spinal column is a series of building blocks called vertebral bodies stacked on top of one another. Sometimes these blocks do not line up perfectly. This slight separation in the spinal column is called a spondylolisthesis .
"Doc says I have a spondy-something-or-other. Don't ask me what it is; all I know is that it hurts". Steve tries to explain his low back condition to his friend. But, he finds that he cannot explain what he does not understand. Steve has had back pain for a number of years. Every year the pain gets worse and has now become constant. His doctor sent him for x-rays recently. The x-rays showed a spondylolisthesis with disc degeneration at L5/S1. Steve could not understand his doctor's explanation of the condition. So, now he has pain and has confusion.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the spine is a noninvasive procedure that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create pictures of the spine area, including the vertebrae (spine bones), the spinal cord, and the spaces between the vertebrae through which the nerves travel.
See also: MRI
Magnetic resonance imaging - spine; Nuclear magnetic resonance - spine; MRI of the spine; NMR - spine
How the test is performed
You will be asked to lie on a narrow table, which slides into a large tunnel-like tube. The health care provider may inject a dye through one of your veins. This helps certain diseases and organs show up better on the images.
Unlike and computed tomographic (CT) scans, MRI does not use radiation. Instead, it uses powerful magnets and radiowaves. The magnetic field produced by an MRI forces certain atoms in your body to line up in a certain way. It's similar to how the needle on a compass moves ...
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