Diagnostic Studies

Several different types of studies help to determine the source of pain. These include:

Discography

This diagnostic study helps pinpoint which spinal disc is causing the back or leg pain. A contrast fluid is injected into a disc in the spine, the pressure within the disc is measured, and then a radiographic image is taken to visualize the location and source of disc damage.

Sympathetic nerve block

The sympathetic nervous system is a network of nerves that start at the spinal cord and branch out throughout the body. The nerve network is controlled by ganglions (bunched areas of nerves); most of them are located along the sides of the vertebrae. The sympathetic nerve block test helps to determine if hyperactive ganglia are causing the sensations of tingling, burning, or pain in the limbs. The test involves injecting local anesthetic near the sympathetic nerves in a specific spinal region. If the medication works to temporarily relieve the symptoms, the problem nerve area is identified and then additional similar injections can be performed to give long-term relief of the pain.

Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS)

The Henry Ford Pain Center works closely with the Department of Neurology which provides EMG and NCS studies to assess muscle and nerve function to identify potential causes and sources of pain.

Radiology studies

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computed Tomography (CT), and other radiological studies help to define body structures and disease processes in relation to pain.

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