MRI is a relatively safe diagnostic procedure, the demand for which has steadily grown over the years because it is non-invasive, painless, and carries no to minimal risk of developing side effects. An MRI scan of the cervical spine can be expected to carry the same safety profile.
The best way to point out the advantages of undergoing a cervical spine MRI is to compare it with the results that can be obtained from a CT scan. An MRI of the cervical spine offers several advantages over a CT scan. The most important of which are as follows:
Based on the Global Burden of Disease report 1990 to 2013, neck pain is the fourth major cause of years lived with disability. As with other diseases, early diagnosis and treatment can help curb the trend, and an MRI of the cervical spine can be a well-placed tool to help with that objective.
Whether you are just generally worried about hearing cracking sounds on your Spine, or already considering cervical spine surgery, there is some basic information you need to know about your spinal structure to better understand your condition:
Injury to any part of your spinal column, spinal cord, discs, or ligaments can lead to damage to the spine. All of which may be captured as abnormal cervical spine MRI after scanning and will provide a doctor with robust information about its cause and how the condition can be treated, corrected, or managed.
Most people undergoing an MRI scan of the cervical spine will typically show some level of wear and tear in this area. However, some will develop damage to the spine earlier and at much faster rates, particularly when one or more of the following causes and risk factors are present or experienced:
Some diseases of the spine may only require treatment and rehab, while worse cases may necessitate surgery. Among the abnormalities that an MRI scan of the cervical spine can show are tumors, bone defects, aneurysms, structural damages to the soft tissues, abnormal curvature, spinal deformities, and spinal
Although MRI may be already used for this purpose, further improvements in MRI technology is currently being tested to improve its ability to help in diagnosing Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Back pain may be manifested, along with numbness, weakness, or tingling of the arms or legs. Other reported symptoms also include loss of dexterity of the hands and loss of balance and coordination.
The term is loosely used to refer to neck pain which may extend to pain in the head and shoulders. Underlying causes usually involve the bones (orthopedic) or nerves (neurological) and may include tumors, cervical spine diseases, loss of lubrication, and hardening of neck muscles.
When the condition progresses in spite of therapy and medication, this condition may lead to severe compression of the spinal cord. Results may lead to myelopathy which can manifest as loss of coordination, chronic weakness, pain, or numbness. If not properly managed, severe stenosis of the cervical spine may cause permanent nerve damage, disability, and death.
Based on the best available data, cervical spine surgery is generally safe. Based on a limited population study, none of the patients undergoing cervical spine surgery experienced complications during and after the operation. The researchers concluded that this was the result of proper surgery preparation and co-morbidity management. To satisfy these conditions, it is imperative that you coordinate closely with your physicians, most especially if you have other comorbidities that may affect the success of your operation.
Since adults often complain about these conditions, it pays to know what other red flags to watch out for. The following are symptoms of cervical spine disease :
If you observe chronic pain on your cervical spine and frequent headaches, accompanied by any other symptom listed above, do not hesitate to consult with your doctor. Follow your doctor’s orders closely and make sure to stay in the treatment program prescribed for you. If you have it, please remember to check that your private health insurance covers MRI of the cervical spine in case your doctor refers you for an MRI.
Global Burden of Disease Study Collaborators. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 301 acute and chronic diseases and injuries in 188 countries, 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the global burden of disease study 2013. Lancet. 2015;386(9995):743–800. Link:
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(15)60692-4/ full-text Access Date: 24 Apr 2020
Clayton, JL, et.al (2012). Risk factors for cervical spine injury. Injury J. 2012 Apr;43(4):431-5. DOI: 10.1016/j.injury.2011.06.022. Epub 2011 Jul 2. Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21726860 Access Date: 24 Apr 2020 Vasaghi Gharamaleki, B, and Nazer, Z. (2017). Predicting the risk of hearing impairment following cervical spine diseases by measuring the cervical range of movements: A pilot study. Basic Clin. Neurosci. 2017 Sep-Oct; 8(5): 413-418. DOI: 10.18869/nirp.bcn.8.5.413 Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5691173/ Access Date: 24 Ap 2020
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Cervical Spine. Link: https://www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Cervical-Spine Access Date: 24 Apr 2020 Moccia, Marcello, et.al. (2019). Advances in spinal cord imaging in multiple sclerosis. Ther Adv Neurol Disord. 2019; 12: 1756286419840593. Published online 2019 Apr 22. DOI: 10.1177/1756286419840593 Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6477770/ Access Date: 24 Apr 2020
Wang, C, et..al (2017). Intraoperative Death During Cervical Spinal Surgery: A Retrospective Multicenter Study. Global Spine J. 2017 Apr; 7(1 Suppl): 127S-131S. Published online 2017 Apr 1. DOI: 10.1177/2192568217694005 Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5400200/ Access Date: 24 Apr 2020
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