Is an MRI better than a CT scan for diagnosing back pain?

MRI vs CT. A ct myelogram (where contrast is injected to highlight discs, nerves, etc) is comparable to a back mri. Orthopedic surgeons & neurologists have their preference. Both will do a thorough exam before recommending an imaging study. Conservative treatment with analgesics, muscle relaxers, physical therapy may be enough at first.
It depends..... Mri is better at diagnosing disk herniations and is more commonly ordered than ct for back pain. Ct is better at looking at the bony structure of the spine, though MRI is a close second.

Related Questions

Have had mri/ CT scan nothing suspicious. High CRP elevated sed rate. Ana + w/speckled pattern. Could this be cancer? Do have middle back pain.

Need further eval. You will need more evaluation. A complete autoimmune panel should be done at least. I don't know your symptoms, but from your limited information, you do have some inflammation process going on in your body and there is a possibility that this may be an autoimmune process. Discuss further with your doctor.

17 yr-old competitive golfer with right low back deep burning pain on and off for 7 months. CT and 2 MRIs were negative. What to evaluate next.....?

Back pain. In addition to the excellent care and advice already given, consider a mind-body approach. The work of John Sarno, MD, would be a good next step. There are lots of videos on the net about/with him. One book is called "The Divided Mind." Peace and good health.
Overuse of Radiography. Try EMG & physiatry eval, heat, TENS unit. If imaging has not revealed anything, then consultation with PM&R (Physiatry) or Sports Medicine may be indicated. An EMG (electromyogram) may reveal some abnormalities, but it is terribly nonspecific and has low sensitivity. You may be better off with an empiric trial of a TENS unit, back massage / physiotherapy, & heating pads. Later, NSAIDs or other analgesics can be tried. It is VERY common to have back pain without any imaging findings. Imaging is actually a waste of time, expense, and money in this situation unless there are warning signs (weight loss, fever, loss of bowel/bladder, &c.)
Merits phys therapist. A physiatrist (physical therapy expert) could readily assess this problem and decide upon a proper therapeutic approach.
Internal Disc Disruption Syndrome. Chris. Sorry to hear about your pain. You may have internal disc disruption syndrome. Your MRI may actually show a small annular tear (which is at the periphery of the disc; sometimes they go unseenas well. This intern can lead to a leaky disc which will cause chemical irritation of the nerves in your spine because the material inside the disc can leak into the spinal canal causing inflammation and the pain with numbness into your foot. Called a chemical radiculitis. Seen a interventional spine specialist and considering a spinal nerve block or epidural may be beneficial after a comprehensive physical exam. The other syndrome to consider in the differential diagnosis is Piriformis syndrome. There is a lot of available literature online and stretches that may assist if this was a source of your pain. Good luck!
? back mice. Rule out internal causes, CTD, seronegative arthropathy, etc. Consider cluneal neuritis or neuromata, vs back mice (subcutaneous fibroadenomatous nodules), PSIS bursitis and iliolumbar ligament enthesopathy / ILL syndrome, even facetogenig. Check posture for lumbar lordosis, core strength, hamstring flexibility, etc which stress this area. Injecting the PSIS area with local anesthetic to block the cluneal nerve, follow with steroid injection if diagnostic block is positive. If no improvement consider Prolotherapy for ILL. But, the most important thing is to address the bio-mechanical imbalances. High-resolution MSK ultrasound by a trained physician may be a better imaging modality in this case. Consider sports medicine and PM&R consult. An osteopaths (DO's) may be able to find and treat the somatic dysfunction.
An. Emg-ncv may be helpful.
Physical therapy assessment should be considered. The case history states that the physical exam showed nothing. It would be helpful to know if there is any limitation of motion with rotation or flexion or extension and more documentation of his core strength and flexibiltiy. At 17, this patient will have just completed his growth spurt and often it takes general muscle stretching and training to balance the increase in bone length. Overuse injures are not just limited to stress fractures but involve soft tissue as well.
???? Deep burning pain is unlikely caused by stress yet can be. Have you tried physical therapy or massage or deep relaxation/trance?
Nerve root. Although CT/MRI are good for obvious nerve damage, muscular and soft tissue injuries are not as easily to pinpoint, as well as stretching of nerve roots and the resultant pain - I suggest symptomatic treatment including appropriate physical therapy, rest, and medication, if appropriate from your provider if choice.
What did your LB X-rays show? MRI's are great for soft, ligamentous, nerve root imaging that's specific. CT's are great for bones. What does your spinal x-rays show? These must be specifically asked for in imaging so measurements can be taken. Ou need to see if you might have spondylolisthesis occurring that occurs in some golfers, when their anterior lumbar disc (L5 is slightly anteriorized over the sacrum, just enough to provide LBP that's often missed when doing these global imaging. If your x-rays were normal, then you must consider how you are using your swing that rickershays (sp?) your hips in a whipping motion, when swinging the ball, and again puts pressure on L5/S1. See an DO. Osteopathic physician to evaluate your neuromuscular-skeletal (NMM) medical system to see where your imbalances are that need to be decompressed. Using orthotics would be helpful too. See a DO, who is NMM board certified is best. Call around, or look up on CranialAcademy. Org.