Doctors use two kinds of tests to diagnose spinal stenosis. Some of the tests are aimed at making sure there isn't another cause producing the symptoms. Others can indicate that the vertebral narrowing has occurred. After asking you questions about your symptoms, your doctor probably will check your reflexes, gait and other indicators of spinal problems.
- X-ray — High-energy radiation is used to take pictures of the spine.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) — An MRI provides detailed pictures of the spine that are produced with a powerful magnet linked to a computer.
- Computed Tomography (CT) Scan — A CT scan uses a thin X-ray beam that rotates around the spine area. A computer processes data to construct a three-dimensional, cross-sectional image.
- Myelogram — This is an X-ray of your spine taken after a special dye has been injected into the spinal column. It can show pressure on the spinal cord or problems with discs or vertebrae.
Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.
UCSF Clinics & Centers
400 Parnassus Ave., Third Floor
San Francisco, CA 94143-0332
Phone: (866) 81-SPINE or
Neuro-spine Fax: (415) 353-2176
Ortho-spine Fax: (415) 353-4047
- Timothy Wrenn
When Others Gave Up, UCSF Spine Surgeons Save Patient's Life