Neck (Cervical) Pain MRI

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MRI for the Diagnosis of Neck Pain

The term MRI stands for: “Magnetic Resonance Imaging.” This is a radiological scan that is capable of looking at many layers of the spine and surrounding tissue, and can quickly show issues that identify the causes of neck pain.

Neck Pain Diagnosis – MRI

In most cases, more than one method is used to arrive at the root cause diagnosis of neck pain. Of these modalities, one of the most conclusive and revealing is the MRI. With the ability to look at many layers of the spine, it will show a medical expert the condition of a person’s discs, ligaments, nerves, all without any discomfort to the patient.

How is Neck Pain Diagnosed? Understanding MRI

If you have chronic or sudden neck pain, it is important to visit a physician. The neck is part of the spine, and pain in this area can cause a long list of associated issues. Neck pain can reduce the overall quality of your daily life by forcing you to live with ongoing headaches, weakness or numbness in the limbs, and more.  Though there is a substantial list of conditions that can cause pain in the cervical area of the spine, getting to the bottom of it through the use of MRI is important for an accurate diagnosis.

The neck is composed of a diversity of structures and materials. Sometimes, something as simple as “sleeping wrong” might cause muscle discomfort that is severe enough to leave you feeling impaired for several days. This sort of pain may not need diagnosis at all, but there is neck pain that most certainly requires a visit to the physician.

Pain that is severe, ongoing, and associated with the appearance of headache, shoulder, arm or hand weakness or numbness, and other pervasive symptoms is most certainly in need of diagnosis. A physician may not automatically use MRI in diagnosing neck pain but will usually begin with a physical exam, go over your medical history, and then discuss the current pain. Then, if it seems warranted, deeper analysis may be accomplished using an MRI.

An MRI machine uses powerful magnets and radio waves rather than radiation, as in the case of an X-ray. It has the ability to capture different layers of the human body and reveals soft tissues like nerves but also areas of bone too. Because of its capabilities, many physicians and spine health professionals have come to rely on the MRI in their diagnostic workup. While traditional x-rays can highlight areas of bone that may cause pain in the cervical spine, and a CT scan can also help to evaluate problems within the neck, the MRI for diagnosis of neck pain tends to be more concise.

This is because it allows the medical expert to see the state of the many nerves within the cervical spine, and to understand if anything is being pinched, compressed, or showing signs of irritation and inflammation. These are all matters that can easily lead to serious neck pain, and the speed and safety of the MRI often makes it a fast and comprehensive diagnostic solution.

Of course, neck pain is caused by a range of problems and the MRI is going to enable a physician to look at the wide array of anatomical structures within this area.  If you have severe, sudden or chronic pain, you will want to discuss it with your physician to find out if MRI for diagnosis of your neck pain is a good next step.

MRI for Diagnosis of Neck Pain

  • An cervical MRI provides a multi-layered view of the neck and can reveal problems with nerves, bones, and other tissue
  • The cervical spine (neck) can conceal a host of problems but the MRI can usually uncover them all
  • Neck pain may be related to nerve issues and an MRI provides the physician with a detailed view of the nerves

Patient Tips For MRI

  • MRI machines use no radiation and usually take less than 60 minutes to complete
  • An MRI captures images of your entire neck region and may provide answers to questions about nerves, ligaments, soft tissue and bones
  • An MRI for diagnosis of neck pain may show that you have herniated cervical discs, cervical spinal stenosis, or problems with the ligaments in the cervical vertebrae
  • Your doctor will use MRI as part of the diagnostic workup after discussing symptoms and your medical history with you

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