Quick Answer: Which Is Better For Back Pain MRI Or CT Scan?

Should I get an MRI for back pain?

Your doctor might recommend an MRI if he or she suspects that your low back pain is caused by something more serious than muscle strain.

This may be the case if: Your history and physical exam show signs of a serious problem, such as a fracture, tumors, infection, or nerve damage..

Why do an MRI after a CT scan?

However, it is able to show more detail and smaller structures, enabling the doctor to indentify something they may have missed on an X-Ray. CT scans are faster than MRI and are often preferred for providing skeletal information, where MRI scans are often preferred for providing soft tissue information.

Which is better a CT scan or MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging produces clearer images compared to a CT scan. In instances when doctors need a view of soft tissues, an MRI is a better option than x-rays or CTs. MRIs can create better pictures of organs and soft tissues, such as torn ligaments and herniated discs, compared to CT images.

When should you get back pain for imaging?

It can be a good idea to get an imaging test right away if you have signs of severe or worsening nerve damage, or a serious underlying problem such as cancer or a spinal infection. “Red flags” that can alert your health care provider that imaging may be worthwhile include: A history of cancer. Unexplained weight loss.

Does back xray show disc problems?

Your doctor may suggest taking X-rays of your lower back. Regular X-rays will not show a herniated disc, but they will give your doctor an idea of how much wear and tear is present in the spine and may show other causes of your problem. The most common test done today to diagnose a herniated disc is the MRI scan.

What can a CT scan miss?

Imaging tests usually can’t tell if a change has been caused by cancer. CT scans can produce false negatives and false positives. CT scan can miss cancer, or miss tumors in other areas of the body. CT scans are proven to be less effective at diagnosing cancer than PET/CT.

How much is an MRI scan for lower back?

How much does an MRI cost? Although the total cost of an MRI scan varies depending on the part of the body being imaged, costs generally range from $100 to $500. This is much better than in many overseas countries, where this procedure can cost several thousands of dollars.

How is back pain diagnosed?

If there is reason to suspect that a specific condition is causing your back pain, your doctor might order one or more tests:X-ray. These images show the alignment of your bones and whether you have arthritis or broken bones. … MRI or CT scans. … Blood tests. … Bone scan. … Nerve studies.

What scan is best for back pain?

The MRI (Magnetic resonance Imaging) was developed in the 1980’s and has revolutionized treatment for patients with low back pain. An MRI scan is generally considered to be the single best imaging study of the spine to help plan treatment for back pain.

Can a CT scan show back problems?

Computed tomography (CT) of the spine is a diagnostic imaging test used to help diagnose—or rule out—spinal column damage in injured patients. CT scanning is fast, painless, noninvasive and accurate. In emergency cases, it can reveal internal injuries and bleeding quickly enough to help save lives.

What can a CT scan show that an MRI Cannot?

Both MRIs and CT scans can view internal body structures. However, a CT scan is faster and can provide pictures of tissues, organs, and skeletal structure. An MRI is highly adept at capturing images that help doctors determine if there are abnormal tissues within the body. MRIs are more detailed in their images.

Can MRI make back pain worse?

Worse, a large study in the US has shown that that getting a MRI early on in acute episodes of low back pain, even cases with nerve compression pain such as sciatica and controlling for severity and age led to significantly worse outcomes, such as $13,000 more in medical costs and more time off work – All by getting a …

Is MRI necessary for lower back pain?

An MRI may be necessary to evaluate neurological symptoms,2 such as radiating pain or back pain that develops in a patient previously diagnosed with cancer. Listed below are symptoms and co-existing medical diagnoses and conditions that may suggest the need for lumbar spine image tests.

What will an MRI show for back pain?

An MRI scan creates detailed pictures of your spine. It can pick up most injuries that you have had in your spine or changes that happen with aging. Even small problems or changes that are not the cause of your current back pain are picked up. These findings rarely change how your doctor first treats you.

What will a CT scan of the lower back show?

A CT scan of the spine may be performed to assess the spine for a herniated disk, tumors and other lesions, the extent of injuries, structural anomalies such as spina bifida (a type of congenital defect of the spine), blood vessel malformations, or other conditions, particularly when another type of examination, such …