When it comes to your spine, there are many different joints and areas that can cause you pain. Because of the complexity of this structure, it can be exceptionally difficult to figure out exactly what is causing you pain. There are some times where a back pain specialist can simply do an exam and know exactly what is wrong because they can pinpoint the exact spot through palpation. You’ll know because you’ll feel intense pain that will make you want to just when they find that exact spot, like if you’re suffering from sacroiliac joint dysfunction. However, when nerves are involved, pain can easily radiate, causing your spine pain to be much harder to diagnose. But, you’re in luck, because there are many diagnostic techniques that can be utilized in order to pinpoint the exact spot that is causing you distress.
More often than not, you’ll go through a diagnostic process involving a physical exam and some type of imagery, ranging from x-rays to an MRI. While these are great tools to help figure out what’s causing your pain, sometimes these tests can be inconclusive, especially for facet joint pain. So when your back pain is inconclusive, there are a few more tests that your back specialist can try in order to help pinpoint the exact cause of your pain.
Steroid Injections as a Diagnostic Tool
While we often think of steroid injections into painful joints as just a treatment, they’re actually a great diagnostic tool. When there are many different joints close together, like in the spine, it’s hard to tell exactly which joint is causing you pain. Often steroid injections are the pain management tool that a specialist will turn to for treatment, but if your other tests come back inconclusive with regard to the exact location and cause of your pain, steroid injections can be used as a diagnostic tool.
Let’s say that you have sacroiliac pain and your doctor has already pinpointed the exact location. For treatment, you would receive a steroid injection into the joint under fluoroscopy. You would probably feel much better in the following days and weeks after this injection as inflammation reduces. If your spinal facet joints are the problem, your back specialist can do a very similar procedure one facet joint at a time. It’s a bit like playing guess and check, but once your pain resolves, you’ll know exactly which facet joint is the problem. This way, you can be treated for just the pain your experience instead of having to have multiple injections in order to hope that you reduce the pain.
When it comes to getting the simplest, least invasive treatments to help your pain, you need to be able to diagnose the problem. With the help of the back specialists at the Spine Institute of North America, you can get an accurate diagnosis and get help with the pain management you need. In addition, we work hard to provide you with minimally invasive procedures in order to reduce risk and downtime. You deserve to feel your best, so schedule a consultation with us today!