Do Pinched Nerves Show Up on an MRI?

If you are noticing shooting, shocking, or electrical sensations running down a limb, there is a chance that you may suffer from something called a pinched nerve. Depending on the exact nature of the nerve that is pinched, you may suffer motor or sensory issues. Pinched nerves can have a dramatic impact on your quality of life. Therefore, it is important to detect them as quickly as possible. That way, you can start the treatment process quickly. One of the tools that may be recommended is an MRI. Do pinched nerves show up on an MRI? There are several points to know.

pinched nerve

What Is a Pinched Nerve?

Nerves are responsible for carrying information throughout your body. Nerves leave the brain and the spinal cord, traveling to every location in the body. These are motor nerves. They allow you to control the movement of your limbs in space.

Then, there are nerves that flow from your body back to your brain. These are sensory nerves. They communicate information about temperature, pain, and pressure.

Because these nerves are so long, they can be pinched to just about anywhere en route. If this is the case, the entire function of the nerve will be compromised. For example, if there is a nerve that travels from your brain down your arm, it could be pinched along the way. As a result, you may notice shooting pains that travel from your neck down your arm.

How Do Pinched Nerves Impact Someone?

The exact symptoms that you may notice depend on the location and nature of the nerve that is pinched. For example, one common example of a pinched nerve is called sciatica. Sciatica takes place when something changes on the sciatic nerve. If this is the case, individuals generally notice shooting pains that travel from the lower back down the leg. This could lead to weakness in that leg as well.

There are other nerves that could be pinched that causes shooting pains down the leg as well. For example, when people suffer a herniated disc, this is an example of a pinched nerve. Without the disc, the vertebrae compress nerves in that region. The most common location of a herniated disc is between either L3 and L4 or L4 and L5. When the disc ruptures, shooting pains could travel from the back down the leg.

How Do Pinched Nerves Happen?

There are countless ways that a pinched nerve could develop. Some of the most common examples include:

  • Individuals could suffer from spinal stenosis, which compressed nerves in the spinal cord
  • A herniated disc could lead to pinched nerves
  • Some people suffer a pinched nerve in a sporting event, particularly in the shoulder, which is usually called a stinger
  • Swelling in a certain region of the body could compress nerves in that area

If individuals are suffering from symptoms from a pinched nerve, it is critical to see a doctor as quickly as possible. That way, the location of the pinched nerve can be identified.

How Is a Pinched Nerve Diagnosed?

For the most part, the diagnosis of a pinched nerve is clinical. This means that a medical professional can identify the pinched nerve based on a symptom. Depending on the symptoms someone is feeling and the location of the symptoms, a trained doctor might be able to identify exactly which nerve is pinched.

On the other hand, Imaging may still be required to decide on a treatment plan. That is where an MRI could be helpful.

Can an MRI Detect Pinched Nerves?

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. This is one of the most powerful forms of Imaging in the healthcare field. An MRI uses powerful magnets to generate its image. When the body is exposed to powerful magnets, the individual nuclei of every atom will spin in a specific direction. Then, the differences in these spins are used to generate an image.

MRIs are able to provide in-depth information on not only the spinal cord but individual nerves as well. There is a good chance that an MRI should be able to detect a pinched nerve. This can confirm the suspicions of a doctor.

Depending on the location and size of a pinched nerve, it might also be possible to tell what the problem is and what caused the nerve compression. This is handled on a case-by-case basis. It is important to note that an MRI can take some time to complete. Furthermore, it is critical for people to remove all metal objects from their bodies for an MRI. Anyone with metal inside their body may not be able to have an MRI.

Once the MRI is finished, the doctor will discuss the results with the patient. Then, a treatment plan can be proposed.

Contact Dr. Wagner for Help with a Pinched Nerve

If you believe that you are suffering symptoms of a pinched nerve, then it is important to get treatment as quickly as possible. That is where we can help you. At Dr. Wagner, we provide you with access to a Daytona Beach chiropractor. With more than 40 years of experience, we can help you get back on your feet in no time. We customize our treatment plans to meet the individual needs of our patients. We would be happy to help you as well. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment!

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