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Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of spaces in the spine (backbone) which causes pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerves. About 75% of cases of spinal stenosis occur in the low back (lumbar spine). In most cases, the narrowing of the spine associated with stenosis compresses the nerve root, which can cause pain along the back of the leg.
Spinal stenosis may result in low back pain as well as pain in the legs. Stenosis may pinch the nerves that control muscle power and sensation in the legs. Additional symptoms may include:
The causes of back pain can be very complex, and there are many structures in the back that can cause pain. The following test procedures are used to test and evaluate the cause of pain:
X-RAYS X-rays can be very effective in diagnosing traumatic bone and joint injuries such fractures and dislocations. An X-Ray provides images that can be used to evaluate bones, joints and degenerative lesions in the spine.
MYELOGRAM A myelogram uses X-rays and a special dye called contrast material to make pictures of the bones and the fluid-filled space between the bones in your spine. A myelogram may be done to find problems with the spine such as a herniated disc, or narrowing of the spinal canal caused by arthritis.
MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING (MRI) An MRI is a common test to evaluate the lumbar spine. MRI’s can be used to evaluate vertebral bones, discs, joints, nerves, and soft tissue
CAT SCAN (CT) CT scans may be requested when problems are suspected in the bones or when a patient is unable to obtain an MRI
DISCOGRAPHY A discography is a medical procedure that involves injecting a dye into the jellylike center of a spinal disc to help diagnose back problems. During discography, a doctor looks at the amount of pressure needed to inject the dye into the disc, whether it causes pain that is the same as your regular pain, how much dye is used, and how the dye appears on X-ray once it is inside the disc.
EMG An electromyogram (EMG) measures how well and how fast the nerves can send electrical signals. If you have leg pain or numbness, you may have these tests to find out how much your nerves are being affected. These tests check how well your spinal cord, nerve roots, and nerves and muscles that control your legs are working.
BONE DENSITY Bone mineral density (BMD) testing generally correlates with bone strength and is used to diagnose osteoporosis
BONE SCAN A bone scan is a test to help find the cause of your back pain. It can be done to find damage to the bones. A bone scan can often find a problem days to months earlier than a regular X-ray test.