Lower back pain is common across the globe since most individuals experience it once in their lifetime. Most lower back pain is due to an injury of the muscle brought about by lifting heavy objects or sudden movements. Certain diseases such as cancer of the spinal cord, herniated disc, arthritis, kidney infection and sciatica may cause it.
What is lumbar MRI?
Magnetic resonance imaging uses radio waves and magnets to create images of the body without the need for a surgical incision. A lumbar MRI is specifically designed to examine the lumbar area where back pain usually originates.
Why is MRI needed for lumbar back pain?
A physician may request an MRI to examine, diagnose and treat problems within the spine. An MRI is required if the following symptoms occur:
- Back pain with fever
- Birth effects that affect the spine
- Injured lower spine
- Severe and persistent back pain
- Multiple sclerosis
- Bladder issues
- A manifestation of the brain or spinal cancer
- Numbness or weakness of the legs
Undergoing an MRI is also common before spinal surgery. It will help the surgeons to plan the procedure which includes where to perform the incision.
A lumbar MRI can provide different images from other imaging tests such as X-rays, ultrasound and CT scans. It shows the bones, spinal cord, discs and spaces between vertebral bones.
What are the risks of a lumbar MRI?
Compared to X-rays and, MRIs are considered to be a lot safer especially for growing children and pregnant women. Though there may be some side effects, they are unlikely to happen.
However, people with metal implants are not supposed to undergo the scan since the magnets used in an MRI may cause problems with a pacemaker or may result in shifting of implanted pins and screws.
One complication brought by MRI is an allergic reaction due to the dye used. Some MRI exams may require a dye to be injected into the bloodstream to provide a clear image of blood vessels. Gadolinium is the most common dye used in MRI. Doctors can easily treat most allergic reactions, but some may result in an anaphylactic reaction which may result in death.
How to prepare for a lumbar MRI
Before the scan, make sure that you advise your physician about any metal implants in your body. If the experts cannot reprogram your pacemaker before the scan, the doctor might opt to have a CT scan instead. Also, tell your doctor if you have artificial heart valves, pins, clips, screws, stents, staples and prosthetic limbs or joints.
You may also have to remove any piercings, and you have to change into a hospital gown. If the scan requires a contrast dye, you should inform the technologist if you have any allergies.
Your doctor may prescribe an anti-anxiety medicine before the procedure if you are claustrophobic. Check out options for a private MRI scan London clinics offer, and enjoy a hassle-free and comfortable procedure.
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