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.
UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.