Look Through: Can an MRI show nerve damage?
Do you witness neck pain or lower back pain persistently for many days? Does this pain radiate into your arms and legs too?
Sorry to say, but that may be a sign of impingement of a nerve emerging from your spinal cord, and finding the source of this issue is too frustrating, indeed! It is because you have to go through a couple of tests before the results of those tests are correlated with MRI findings!
Can an MRI show nerve damage?
An MRI is one such technique that accurately identifies structural lesions and can help your doctor correct the problem before permanent damage occurs.
The answer to your question would certainly be yes. An MRI can show nerve damage and even trace the source in detail – Be it an arthritic change that lay playing the game from behind or a herniated vertebral disc that stands bothering you for so long!
I know a lot of questions are revolving in your mind right now!
What do damaged & pinched nerves mean?
What’s the process of MRI?
How can it detect nerve damage?
What to expect during this scan?
And myriad more, indeed!
Let us try to unveil them one by one! What say?
What do damaged & pinched nerves mean?
Although nerves are very thin in shape and hard to trace, they are the ones to power your entire body!
They are three main types, namely, autonomic nerves, motor nerves, and sensory nerves! The autonomic nerves are the ones to control blood pressure, heart rate, and digestive processes, while the motor nerves serve to control the communication between muscles, the brain, and the spinal cord. Sensory nerves are the ones that make you feel the pain in your skin.
When you have a sports injury, an accident, fall from somewhere or dash with a hard object, these nerves may get damaged!
A pinched nerve is a condition in which the nerve stands compressed between the bones, tendons, or ligaments. As a result, Inflammation in the nerve pops up, causing enormous pain. This condition may arise from misalignment in your upper spine & neck due to various factors like –
- Repetitive Motion,
- Acute Stress & Trauma,
- Weird Sleeping Postures & positions,
- Gymnastics, etc.
That is when you experience numbness or a sharp burning sensation in the extremities!
What is the process of MRI & How can it detect nerve damage?
An MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging Test. It is the process in which strong magnets & radiofrequency waves lay used to activate our body proton and receive signals from them, thereupon creating a detailed image of your internal body structures!
MRI is a non-invasive test conducted on an outpatient basis. In other words, no cuts in your body and no requirement for a hospital stay. You can pursue this test amidst your rigid work schedule & no special preparation stand requisite!
During this process, a long semi-enclosed donut-shaped machine lay used, where you would get moved when lying over a wheeled table. The test takes 15 minutes on average but sometimes, depending on the image requirement, it may even take up to 90 minutes!
It is one such test that can offer an in-depth layout of your soft tissues & musculoskeletal system. Hence, MRI can help determine the cause of your pain & numbness through the scanning of your full spinal anatomy!
MRI can offer an image of your spine from the sides, somewhat showing like the spine is sliced from top to bottom. This is known as the sagittal view. It allows your doctor to view & assess your vertebrae and discs present therein and locate abnormalities in them if any!
MRI can allocate a cross-section imaging of your spine, making it easier for your doctor to see the spinal cord as a grey area surrounded by a white area which is the spinal fluids. This view is called the axial view, where the white channels situated on either side of the spinal cord stand visible. These are the channels that retain nerve roots coming out from the spinal cord & therefore, your doctor can trace what the nerve damage is and also the main source of the damage!
This diagnostic method can identify the cause of nerve damage. The MRI findings shall show –
- Whether it’s a spinal cord compression that led to the nerve damage,
- Whether it is a compression fracture that led to nerve damage,
- It is a large tumor pressing on your nerve and damaging it,
- Whether it is an autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis or Sjogren’s syndrome leading to nerve damage,
- It is a condition like diabetes that caused nerve damage,
- Whether it is herniated discs that paved for the nerve damage, and so forth!
Once the source is traced, your doctor can buck up with the initiation of treatment. Yes. Nerve damage can get worse in much less time and may not get completely cured, but your doctor would try her best to prompt a treatment regimen, that can make you feel better and reduce the abnormality.
What to expect during an MRI scan to detect nerve damage?
During an MRI scan, there isn’t any change in the procedure for the detection of nerve damage and the same as other disease detection!
When you enter the test lab, you shall find the huge MRI machine standing tall and a moveable bed in front of it. This is where you have to lie down for the scan, and you cannot move unless instructed.
When you are inside the scanner, you can feel suffocated because of the small space, so keeping your eyes closed can help you feel better. At this time, you can also hear a rough creaking noise coming from the machine. It resembles the sound of a jackhammer; trust me! Too annoying, but you can’t help if you want the diagnosis to go right! Some people carry earmuffs to prevent this noise from reaching their ears. You can follow the same!
I must say, there is nothing to be frightened of! An MRI is the safest body scan that stands out over all others – CT scan, X-Ray, Ultrasound, etc. It is because this process neither involves invasion nor does it indulge in the use of radiation. No risk, No complications, indeed!
If you need to book an MRI scan for detecting nerve damage as ordered by your doctor, you can straightaway go to our website, www.mrichandigarh.com, and avail of the best radiology labs in the city, that too at a discounted rate!
We shall be obliged to help you!
Call us for further queries at 8699572364