Spinal Stenosis Diagnosis
In order to make a spinal stenosis diagnosis, a doctor typically uses a threefold approach that is designed to rule out other conditions. Components of the diagnostic process include gathering a patient's complete medical history, performing a physical exam, and ordering tests. Tests that are used to make a spinal stenosis diagnosis include x-ray, imaging scans, myelogram, and a bone scan.
The doctor may use a variety of approaches to diagnose spinal stenosis and rule out other conditions. Approaches that are commonly used to make a spinal stenosis diagnosis include:
- Medical history
- Physical exam
- Certain tests.
During the medical history, the patient will need to tell the doctor about any symptoms that he or she is experiencing and about any injury, condition, or general health problem that might be causing these symptoms.
During the physical examination portion of the visit, the doctor will likely:
- Examine the patient to determine the extent or limitation of movement
- Check for pain or symptoms when the patient hyperextends the spine (bends backwards)
- Check for normal neurologic function (for instance, sensation, muscle strength, and reflexes) in the arms and legs.
Tests Used to Make a Spinal Stenosis Diagnosis
Tests that are often used to make a spinal stenosis diagnosis can include:
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Computed tomography scan
- Bone scan.