Testing for Spinal Stenosis to Achieve an Accurate Diagnosis

Spinal stenosis is a condition that requires a definite diagnosis. Misdiagnosing or treating only the symptoms puts the long-term spinal health of patients in danger. Likewise, not being aggressive enough with treatment does little to bring relief to someone suffering from a narrowing of the spinal canal.

Ideal Spine preaches the importance of accurate diagnosis for any chronic condition, but for stenosis especially. Thankfully, achieving an accurate diagnosis is easy when following the Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach to qualifying symptoms.

Patient questioning

Regardless of presentation, patients should always be interviewed about their symptoms. Palpation of the spine and other testing yields important information, but few things give insight like a patient’s answers to targeted questions.

Based on the condition profile of spinal stenosis, chiropractors can ask a battery of questions to better qualify the condition and the severity of presenting symptoms. Some of the questions to ask patients include:

  • Do you have any pain, numbness, tingling, or a combination of all three?
  • Can you describe the nature, frequency, and severity of the sensation?
  • Where, specifically, do these sensations occur and for how long?
  • What types of posture changes stimulate the sensation (sitting, standing, laying)?
  • Do you notice any cramps or muscle spasms affiliated with the sensation?

There’s tremendous insight in how patients perceive and explain their pain. But more than just these specific pain-related questions, chiropractors can and should ask lifestyle questions as well.

  • What level of activity do you have each day?
  • How often do you sit or stand for long periods of time?
  • What is the nature of your work?
  • Do you smoke or take illicit drugs?
  • What does your daily diet look like?

The patient profile a chiropractor is able to glean from this questioning is key in aligning stenosis symptoms with manifestations.

Imaging and assessment

Most chiropractors value imaging by itself, because it has the best chance at showing stenosis – especially if there are historical spine x-rays on file to show the progression. But what makes imaging valuable is the patient profile established from questioning.

X-rays should support the nature and location of pain described by the patient. It should also show signs of their lifestyle. This not only helps qualify spinal stenosis, but also rule it out to prevent a misdiagnosis.

Movement testing

With support for a stenosis diagnosis evident in the patient profile and on radiological imaging, chiropractors can perform movement testing to distinguish their diagnosis. If standing erect or walking without a forward lean are difficult for the patient, it’s yet another sign of stenosis. Likewise, a battery of range-of-motion exercises in the lumbar and thoracic spine can confirm the restrictions commonly caused by stenosis.

Make a confident diagnosis

Simply observing patients or palpating without imaging risk the integrity of a spinal stenosis diagnosis. Because conditions like peripheral vascular disease, trochanter burstis, and hip-spine syndrome all mimic stenosis, misdiagnosis affects the entire course of treatment.

Ideal Spine advocates a procedural approach to diagnosing spinal stenosis. Using the Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) methodology, a stenosis diagnosis may be more accurately achieved, with emphasis put on formulating a unique, patient-based treatment plan for managing it.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See for providers in your area.

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