Imaging Tests Used To Diagnose A Spinal Stenosis Condition

Posted on: 27 October 2017

Spinal stenosis is a condition where the space along the spine where the spinal cord sits narrows and places pressure on the spine. This condition is quite painful and is often seen with shooting pain up and down the back. If your doctor believes that you may have spinal stenosis, then a serious of imaging tests will need to be completed. Keep reading to learn about the ones that may be suggested.

X-Ray Images

The simplest and also the first set of images that may be suggested include x-ray images. X-ray images allow your physician to see your bones clearly since the electromagnetic radiation is absorbed by the dense materials of the body, which includes the bones.

X-rays allows your doctor to investigate the width of the space between the vertebrae where your spine sits. In particular, your doctor will look for bony growths called spurs where the spine may be placed under stress.

MRI Images

Once the X-ray imaging is completed, your physician will have a better idea of where the spinal cavity narrowing may be an issue. The pinpointed assessment allows the professional to order more in-depth analysis with the assistance of MRI images. The MRI creates cross-sections of the spine so that the distinctive vertebrae and the tissues of the spine can be examined. In the case of an MRI, the physician looks at not only the bony growths, but also the position of the nerves and how pressure is being placed on them.

A thorough examination of the spinal column will also be completed where the professional looks for possible injuries, tumors, or other problems that may be causing a nerve problem.

CT Imagery

Sometimes your doctor will order a CT scan in addition to or instead of an MRI. CT scans also produce sectional images of the spinal cord. However, they do so with the assistance of contrast dye in many cases. This dye is inserted into the body and it moves into different areas of the spine. For example, the dye may accumulate in the nerves so your doctor can assess which ones are being pinched. It can also move into the vertebral discs or along the various blood vessels so that a herniated disc issue can be investigated. 

CT imaging is best used where very small bone spur issues or slight herniations or tumors are suspected. Specifically, the contrast dye allows the issue to stand out so a diagnosis can be made. 

There are other tests that can be completed to help diagnose a spinal stenosis condition, so make sure to speak with your physician about all of the options. For more information and details, talk with a specialist or visit websites like


Welcome to Sara's Site

Hi there! My name is Sara Jerba. I'm no doctor, but I'm very familiar with them due to experience. You could say I was a sickly child. Between various allergies and a few other conditions, I got to be very good friends with my doctors and nurses. Although I hate staying overnight in the hospital, I do feel quite at home there. Now, don't feel sorry for me. Most of my conditions have eased or even abated entirely as I've grown up. And none of them were ever life-threatening--just inconvenient. It's actually been very positive in the long run; it's brought a lot of wonderful people and important knowledge into my life that I wouldn't have had otherwise.

Latest Posts