doctor Find a doctor
OR

Spinal Stenosis Diagnosis

Orthopedic Surgery

How is a Spinal Stenosis Diagnosed?

After discussing your symptoms and medical history, your doctor will examine your back. This will include looking at your back and pushing on different areas to see if it hurts.

Your doctor may have you bend forward, backward, and side-to-side to look for limitations or pain.

Spinal Stenosis Imaging Tests

Other tests which may help your doctor confirm your diagnosis include:

X-rays. Although they only visualize bones, X-rays can help determine if you have spinal stenosis. X-rays will show aging changes, like loss of disc height or bone spurs. X-rays taken while you lean forward and backward can show "instability" in your joints. X-rays can also show too much mobility. This is called spondylolisthesis.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This study can create better images of soft tissues, such as muscles, discs, nerves, and the spinal cord.

Additional tests. Computed tomography (CT) scans can create cross-section images of your spine. Your doctor may also order a myelogram. In this procedure, dye is injected into the spine to make the nerves show up more clearly. It can help your doctor determine whether the nerves are being compressed.