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Spine MRI Scans: What Every Patient Should Know

Thirty-one million in the USA suffer from back pain. Many negate it as a minor bout of ache that a single visit to the chiropractor can resolve. However, lower back pain is the leading cause of spine conditions and disabilities in the world. Ignoring the early signs of lumbar backache can cause severe spinal issues – some being irrecoverable. 

Does a minor backache cause spinal issues?

More than often, back pain is linked to conditions such as - ligament or muscle tenacity. Repetitive inforcement of pressure on the lumbar spine or snubbing the symptoms of lumbar affliction can develop:

  • Spinal ligament sprain
  • Osteoporosis
  • Ruptured discs
  • Spinal irregularities

What can an MRI lumbar spine diagnose or detect?

Your physician, chiropractor, or initial healthcare provider will recommend a spine MRI to detect the critical source of your back pain or discomfort. An MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging is an advanced diagnostic tool and a noninvasive imaging technique.

The functionality of an MRI system involves the use of a magnetic field and radio waves for the production of detailed anatomical images. A back MRI or spine MRI will allow your healthcare provider to evaluate the lumbar region or lower spine, as well as tissues surrounding the area. The procedure is for diagnosing the initial symptoms or determining the cause of your pain or condition.

What parts of the spinal region does an MRI scan help creating the images?

Our lumbosacral spine is made of multiple bones, blood vessels, and tendons. They include L1, L2, L3, L4, and L5 vertebral bones, large blood vessels, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, nerves, the coccyx, and sacrum.

An MRI scan helps in producing detailed images of these parts of our lumbosacral spine for accurate findings and the establishment of copious conditions.

MRI Lumbar Spine: Why Get It?

The need for a spine MRI or lower back MRI is of a manifold in nature. And they are:

  • Spinal injuries
  • Lower backache
  • Lower spinal injury
  • Spinal congenital disabilities
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Incessant back pain
  • Spinal cancer
  • Bladder conditions
  • Varied conditions experienced in our legs, like, numbness

Lumbar Spine MRI: Must-Know Details

There are two types of spine MRI:

  • Lumbar spine MRI with contrast
  • Spine MRI without contrast

MRI, with contrast, involves the use of a special dye. The dye is injected through our vein (IV) either in our arm or hand before the procedure. The dye or contrast allows the designated radiologist to view specific areas with a higher level of clarity.

The dye or contrast aids in the identification of moving fluids and bloodstream. An MRI without contrast causes the appearance of our arteries and veins as “flow voids” or in layman’s terms - "plain black."

How long it takes to get a Spine MRI?

An MRI lumbar spine duration is anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the gravity of the spine issue.

Spine MRI Scan: During The Procedure

There are a few preparatory aspects of lower back MRI or spine MRI. One of them is to complete the preliminary questionnaire that the staff member of your choice of the diagnostic center will provide. The form will include your personal information, such as name, contact number, etc., along with your health history.

You will require changing into the given robe or hospital gown, as well as remove all types of metal elements and accessories from your body. In the case of implemented metal components, such as aneurysm clips, heart valves, and similar medical parts, you need to inform the radiologist before preparing for the MRI scans. It is also advised to report the radiologist if you are pregnant, claustrophobic, or suffering from anxiety.