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...
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 ...
A lumbosacral spine CT is a computed tomography scan of the lower spine and surrounding tissues.
Spinal CT; CT - lumbosacral spine
How the test is performed
You will be asked to lie on a narrow table that slides into the center of the CT scanner. You will need to lie on your back for this test.
Once inside the scanner, the machine's x-ray beam rotates around you. (Modern "spiral" scanners can perform the exam in one continuous motion.)
Small detectors inside the scanner measure the amount of x-rays that make it through the part of the body being studied. A computer takes this information and uses it to create several individual images, called slices. These images can be stored, viewed on a monitor, or printed on film. Three-dimensional models of organs can be created by stacking the individual slices together.
You must be still during the exam, because movement causes blurred images. You may be told to hold your br...
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