X-Ray Cervical Spine AP & Lateral
This imaging test is o rdered by the doctor to identify any issues with the cervical spine. It is carried out to determine why a patient may have pain in their neck.
Before sending the patient for the X-ray, the doctor needs details of the patient's medical history. He or she also requires information about when the issue started, such as pain in the back, for how long it was prevalent and any other incidents that may have occurred which led to the problem. X-ray imaging is used with any identifiable clinical symptoms to diagnose the disease and chart treatment plans for the future.
Furthermore, a physical exam may be taken. The doctor might examine the neck, observing its positioning, whether it tilts too much one way or not, or if the patient experiences difficulty in moving it back or forth.
Why do you need an X-ray?
The X-ray will help the doctor identify the reason behind the pain in the neck. Neck pain may occur after some kind of trauma, like an accident, or it may be chronic. Chronic cases tend to have other symptoms as well, such as upper limb weakness, tingling or numbness. The X-ray detects fractures in the cervical vertebra and also identifies dislocation in the joints between the vertebrae. It can also help in detecting infections, tumours or other abnormalities. The X-ray may also be carried out after surgery to check if everything has healed properly.
X-rays are quick and painless procedures. They help the doctor in identifying abnormalities along the cervical spine in terms of form. The imaging helps the doctors in drawing up appropriate treatment plans. They may also suggest lifestyle changes and set you on the path to recovery, relieving you from constant muscle pain. The doctors may also order other tests, like a bone scan or an ultrasound, to help the diagnosis. The various imaging tests work together to reach a conclusive diagnosis.
What can you expect?
After you have prepared appropriately, the X-ray technician at the lab helps the patient settle in and directs them according to the requirements of the X-ray. This is an AP Lateral X-ray, which means there are two views. In the AP position, the patient is required to stand up, and the view is taken from the front. In the lateral position, the view is taken from the side. In the case of trauma, the patient is supine rather than erect in both positions.
In general, the patient is required to hold their breath and remain still while the image is being taken in order to ensure it's not blurry; otherwise, the procedure may have to be repeated. While the process is relatively short, it may take a longer time for the X-ray to come out if the patient has been injected with a dye to make the imaging come out more precise and detailed.
How do you need to prepare for the X-ray?
X-rays are standard procedures and do not require the patient to prepare beforehand. However, there are some things that must be kept in mind before going in for the imaging:
- ● No jewelry, glasses, and metallic objects should be worn, as they make the X-rays harder to read.
- ● Consult your physician if you are pregnant or there is a possibility of pregnancy; X-rays are usually avoided during this period.
- ● Inform your doctor beforehand if you wear any on-body devices such as an insulin pump or any metal implants in your body
When do you need to get it?
The doctor may order the X-ray if the patient has any of the following signs, indications or symptoms:
- ● Neck pain
- ● Shoulder pain
- ● Upper back pain
- ● Arm pain
- ● Tingling in the arm or hand
- ● Numbness in the arm or hand
- ● Weakness in the arm or hand
What do your X-ray results mean? What will happen now?
Typically, the X-ray results are available on the same day. They are reviewed by the doctor and radiologist, allowing them to determine how they should proceed. In accordance with the results, the doctor may also order additional imaging scans.