If you are suffering from problems in your back or neck, then an X-ray would be very limited on what it would be able to show. It would be able to detect things like breaks and even small fractures in many cases. However, there are a lot of other ways that a neck and back can be injured that would not show up on an X-ray. This is why an X-ray is usually the first step in determining back or neck problems, but then it is often followed up with an MRI.
You can learn more about neck and back issues as well as how and why MRI scans are used by reading the rest of the content offered here:
Symptoms of neck and back issues
Many times, when you have a problem in your neck or back, it will be following an incident where you know you injured yourself and you will feel pain in the area of your neck or your back. However, there are a lot of other problems that can happen that may leave you not really knowing what happened. You can have a nerve compressed or other problems that are affecting any area of your body due to having something going on in your neck or back. Some symptoms of neck and back problems can include:
- Pain in the neck, back region, and other areas of your body
- Tossing and turning at night, unable to get comfortable
- Inability to sit or stand for long periods of time
- Numbness and tingling in extremities
- Loss of mobility
- Loss of bladder control
How an MRI helps
An MRI can show much more than an X-ray. It will show the softer tissues along with the bone, whereas the X-ray will only show the bone. This means you can find out about injuries to the discs, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and more. In fact, the MRI can even show areas where you have inflammation. This allows for the doctor to know if you have any type of injury to your spine that may be causing you pain, as well as the other symptoms that you are experiencing. Without an MRI, you may go around for years without a proper diagnosis as to what's wrong and then you also wouldn't be getting the proper treatment.
If you are experiencing any symptoms that you feel may be due to neck or back problems, then you want to make sure you talk to your doctor right away. The sooner you have an MRI, the sooner you can get the treatment you need.