What Does an MRI of the Cervical Spine Show?
If you’re experiencing neck pain, your doctor may recommend a cervical spine MRI scan. But what does an MRI of the cervical spine show, and how can the results help you reduce or eliminate your pain?
What Is a Cervical Spine MRI?
A cervical spine MRI is different from an X-ray, although both are imaging techniques. Whereas an X-ray just shows your spine or neck bones, an MRI shows your soft tissues. In particular, an MRI shows a cross-section of your tissue, and each cross section is so thin that a single MRI actually creates hundreds of images of your neck.
Why Is an MRI of the Spine Usually Done?
There are many issues a cervical spine MRI can help to diagnose. Typically, doctors recommend cervical spine MRIs when they suspect that you have a certain problem or to diagnose unexplained pain from an accident or injury.
An MRI of the cervical spine can show:
- Abnormal curvature of the cervical spine
- Arterial or venous disorders
- Bone abnormalities
- Injuries to the discs in this area
- Joint disorders
- Spinal birth defects or deformities
Depending on your pain issues, especially if spinal abnormalities are suspected, your doctor may also order a lumbar MRI for your lower back.
If you need a cervical spine MRI, AHI can provide it at a fraction of the cost of most hospitals. Try our cost calculator to see how much you can save.
How Long Is a Cervical Spine MRI?
A cervical spine MRI can last up to an hour. At American Health Imaging, we offer extended evening hours and Saturday appointments so your medical care can fit into your schedule with no need for you to take off work.
What Happens During a Cervical Spine MRI?
Before the cervical spine MRI, you may have to drink some contrast liquid or it may be administered through an IV. This is a special dye that helps the images to show up more clearly. It’s not required in every situation, but if your doctor requests it, you may have to fast before your appointment.
At the imaging center, you lie down in the MRI machine. Then, the imaging technician places a coil-shaped frame over your head and neck area. That helps focus the magnetic waves to create the images.
During the cervical spine MRI, you have to stay completely still. The process is not painful at all, but it can be boring for many people so you may want to request to listen to some music or a podcast. Additionally, if you’re worried about claustrophobia, you may want to talk with your doctor about taking an anti-anxiety medication before the procedure.
Find a Cervical Spine MRI at AHI
The imaging specialists at AHI are committed to helping you uncover the answers behind your symptoms or condition. Request an appointment today to speak with a member of our team.
This post was updated on 12/02/2020.