What is an MRI?
MRI Stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. MRI is a way of getting pictures of various parts of your body without the use of X-rays. Unlike X-rays and computed tomographic (CT) scans, which use radiation, a MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves. A radio wave antenna is used to send signals to the body and then receive signals back.
These returning signals are converted into pictures by a computer attached to the scanner. Pictures of almost any part of your body can be obtained at almost any particular angle. A MRI scan may be used to diagnose or evaluate abnormal growths and tumors, blood flow, blood vessels, lymph nodes, organ function, and more.
Combining MRIs with other imaging methods can often help the doctor make a more definitive diagnosis. MRI images taken after a special dye (contrast) is delivered into the body may provide additional information about the blood vessels.
MRI for Back Pain Diagnosis
Because a MRI scan allows a physician to see in detail and evaluate soft tissue, it is used to help diagnose and determine:
- Herniated and bulging discs
- Alignment of the spine
- Disc height and hydration to determine degenerative disc disease
- Compressed or pinched nerves or sciatica
- Spinal abnormalities
- Spinal Stenosis which leads to nerve compression