What does a pinched nerve look like on an MRI?

Table of Contents:

What is an MRI?

An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a medical imaging technique that uses a combination of computer-generated radio waves and a magnetic field to create detailed images of the organs and tissues of the body. For this reason, physicians often order this type of test to find the root cause of patient’s discomforts

What is a pinched nerve?

A pinched nerve is caused when pressure is applied to a nerve by bones, cartilage, muscles, or tendons. The tension disrupts the nerve causing tingling pain, numbness, and in some cases weakness. Common conditions associated with a pinched nerve are herniated disks, bone spurs, carpal tunnel syndrome.

What are signs of a pinched nerve?

  • Numbness or decreased feeling in the area
  • Sharp or aching pain in area that travels through the affected area
  • Frequent feeling of hand or foot “falling asleep”

What are common areas pinched nerves occur?

  • Cervical Pinched Nerve (Neck)
  • Thoracic Pinched Nerve (Middle Back)
  • Lumbar Pinched Nerve (Lower Back)

How can an MRI diagnose a pinched nerve?

Conducting an MRI can be a great way to identify lesions in the area that pressure is applied to the nerve. This test provides doctors with clear and detailed images of many views (sagittal and axial) of the spine to pinpoint the pain. Doctors can view the vertebrae and discs very closely to determine any abnormality in these structures

Does an MRI scan show nerve damage?

A neurological examination can diagnose nerve damage, but an MRI scan can pinpoint it. It’s crucial to get tested if symptoms worsen to avoid any permanent nerve damage. Alliance MRI is located all over the Houston area and provides affordable MRI tests. Schedule your consultation today!

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What are some treatment options for a pinched nerve?

The treatment of a pinched nerve will depend on how severe the pain is and imaging from the MRI scan. In most cases, doctors will recommend to rest and avoid any activity that is flaring the affected area. This may also result in the physician recommending you to wear a brace to immobilize the area. Some other treatment options include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Medications
  • Surgery


Can a herniated disc cause permanent nerve damage?

Yes, a severe case of a bulging disc can cut off nerve impulses and cause permanent damage. For this reason, it’s important to get properly examined if any of your symptoms worsen.

Can an MRI miss a pinched nerve?

MRI scans can show if a nerve is compressed, but only at that point in time. It can’t explicitly show if the nerve was more severely pinched a few weeks prior or how exactly the nerve is being pressed during the time of examination