Q: Will I have an X-ray during my first visit?
A: X-rays are typically used to check bone for fractures, infections, and tumors, and to determine if your bones are properly aligned. After learning about your symptoms and specific circumstances, your spine specialist will be able to judge whether or not an X-ray is necessary for you.
Q: How will my spine care provider examine my spine?
A: We look at your history, talk to you about your symptoms, and perform a physical examination that includes evaluating:
After the physical examination, your spine care expert may need to perform additional tests in order to provide you with an accurate diagnosis. Additional tests may include MRI scans, CT scans, X-rays, and lab tests.
Q: What is an MRI scan?
A: A magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI) provides images of soft tissue generated by computers. MRIs help your spine care expert identify conditions such as:
Q: What is a CAT scan?
A: A computer assisted tomography (CAT) scan is a cross between an X-ray and an MRI. It shows bones and soft tissues, though the images provided by CAT scans aren’t as clear as MRIs or X-rays. In order to see the soft tissue more easily, a CAT scan is typically combined with a myelogram, in which a special dye is injected into your spinal canal.
Q: What is a discogram?
A: A discogram is a type of X-ray in which a specialized dye is injected into an injured disc. With this dye in place, your spine care provider is able to see a clearer image of the disc on the X-ray film and fluoroscope screen.
Q: What is a spinal tap?
A: A spinal tap is used in order to take a sample of the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding your spinal cord. We may do a spinal tap to check for inflammation, bleeding, white blood cell levels, or protein levels. The information we get from a spinal tap can help us spot signs of an infection, tumors, or bleeding around the spinal cord or brain.
Q: What is an EMG test?
A: An electromyogram (EMG) test is used to examine the nerve roots that leave the spine. An EMG can help the doctor diagnose pinched nerves or other issues between the neck and muscles we test.
Q: What is a bone scan?
A: A bone scan helps your spine care provider pinpoint issues in your spine. We inject a tracer into your bloodstream and then take pictures of your skeleton using a specialized camera that is able to record the radiation of the tracer. The camera will pick up dark spots known as “hot spots” that signal high bone activity, which is where bones are changing quickly due to a fracture, bone tumors, osteoporosis, or overuse.
Do you have additional questions? Contact The Spine Care Center in Manassas to learn more.