Common tests

  •  X-rays
    • Simplest form of imaging that shows a two-dimensional structure of the spine. These are usually done in the standing position.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    • It is a painless diagnostic study that produces detailed images of the spine, especially the discs, nerves and spinal cord. This test does not use X-rays or radiation. The test lasts for around 25-40 minutes. Patients with cardiac pacemakers, artificial heart valves cannot undergo an MRI as the strong magnetic field can damage these devices.
  • CT scan
    • This is a special type of scan that uses X-rays to provide detail images of the spine, especially the bony architecture of the spine. Soft tissues, nerves and spinal cord are not detailed as well compared to MRI. CT scan may be used to assess the integrity of spinal fusion.
  • CT Myelogram
    • This study involves injecting a contrast material (dye) into the spinal canal (dural sac). This contrast material outlines the spinal cord and the nerves in a CT scan. This test is rarely performed and is used in patients in whom MRI is contraindicated.
  • EMG and NCV
    • Electromyography (EMG) is a test involves placing small needles in muscles to record their electrical activity. Nerve conduction velocity (NCV) as the name suggests measures how the electrical activity travels along a particular nerve.
  • DEXA scan or Bone Densitometry 
    • DEXA scan (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) or bone mineral densitometry (BMD) uses special type of X-rays to measure your bone density. DEXA scan is the best available test for the diagnosis of osteoporosis and used to predict the risk of fracture.
  • Epidural steroid injection
    • This involves injecting a local anesthetic and steroid medication into the epidural space or around a specific nerve root. The objective is to treat pain arising from inflamed nerve roots. This test has both therapeutic and diagnostic value.

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