Back pain can affect people of any age, for different reasons. As people get older, the chance of developing back pain increases, due to factors such as previous occupation and degenerative disease.
Spinal pain includes neck pain (stiffness), mid-back pain, lower back pain / lower back ache, and tail bone pain (sacrum, coccyx). The pain may be episodic or constant, vary from mild to debilitating, be chronic (long lasting) or acute (short history). It may be spontaneous (injury) or gradual and progressive. The pain may be a dull ache, shooting or piercing pain, or a burning sensation. It may radiate into the limbs or occur with other spinal neurology.
Spinal neurology includes nerve pain / numbness (parasthaesia), referred nerve pain (such as sciatica), spinal stenosis pain, and muscle weakness or incontinence.
The Spine For Life Scans are highly accurate, non-invasive and safe MRI scans for the diagnosis of spinal (neck or cervical, chest or thoracic, and lower back or lumbar) pain, back ache, or referred nerve pain or other neurology.
These scans diagnose the cause of symptoms, the severity of the abnormality, exclude tumours / cancers, and assist in the management decision (conservative, injections, surgery).
The Spine MRI Scans
The Spine MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) Scan, is the most accurate assessment available for all structural spinal abnormalities including spinal disc disease (slipped / herniated disc), spinal bone abnormalities (degeneration, osteoarthritis cysts, stenosis,tumours), and spinal cord / nerve root abnormalities and tumours.
There are one to three regions that are scanned, depending on symptoms:
- The neck or cervical spine.
- The chest or thoracic spine.
- The lower back or lumbar spine.
You will lie on a comfortable table that slides into a short tunnel open at either end. The scan times are between three and five minutes each, with a total Scan time of fifteen to twenty minutes per region.
These Spine for Life Scans may be combined (at the same time) with:
- The Brain For Life scan.
- The Pelvis / sacro-iliac joint scan.
- The Hip joint scan.
Preparation for the scan:
Requirements for the Scan:
If you are very claustrophobic, you may require safe oral or short acting IV sedation.
There is no X-ray “dye” (contrast) administration.
As much as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in their lives.
Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010.
Serious diseases are uncommon causes of back pain – cancer, infection, abscess and
spondylitis account for fewer than 1% of cases of back pain.
Who should consider the Spine for Life Scans?
- After 4 weeks of severe radiating arm or leg pain.
- After 3 months of severe back pain.
- If the pain is accompanied by other symptoms – loss of appetite, weight loss, fever, chills, shakes, or severe pain at rest – which may indicate a tumour / infection.
- Who may have a spinal stenosis and are considering an injection.
- Poor result or failure or recurrence of symptoms after back surgery, if pain not relieved after 4 to 6 weeks.
The scans are most appropriate in the diagnostic (referral) situation
How often must the Spine For Life Scans be performed?
In the vast majority of people, it is a once off Scan