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How Is a Diagnosis of a Cervical Hernial Disc Made?

MRI shown.

Some of the tests a pain management doctor may recommend to evaluate a cervical herniated disc include the following:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan. This imaging test uses radiofrequency and a magnetic field to detail your spine’s soft tissues. A dye is sometimes used. An MRI can show which disc is damaged and whether there is compression of the nerve. It can also show many abnormalities such as tumors.
  • Computed Tomography (CT) scan. This text uses an beam of X-Ray and a computer to create 2-D images of your spine. A dye may be used. It helps to show if a disc is damaged.
  • Myelogram. Here an X-Ray and a dye are used together. The dye is injected using a spinal tap. The physician can see the dye (it looks white on the X-Ray) to show if there is a herniated disc, if the disc is pinching a nerve, if there are any abscesses or tumors, and if there are  tumors or bone overgrowths.
  • Electromyography & Nerve Conduction Studies (EMG and NCS). Here electrodes, or small needles, and put on your muscles to test the electrical activity of your muscles and nerves. This test helps to detect weak muscles and damage to the nerve.
  • X-Rays. X-Rays are typically used to examine bone damage. They can also show if the vertebrae or too close together, if there are bone spurs, or even if there is arthritis. This test is normally not the first test used to diagnose a herniated disc.


The information contained in this blog is for educational purposes only. This blog does not create a doctor/patient relationship. If you have any pain problems or questions,  please call our office in Langhorne, Bucks County, PA at 215.741.7031.


Our pain management doctors help patients in Bristol, Langhorne, Levittown, Newtown, Richboro, Doylestown, Philadelphia and many other places in or near Bucks County, Mercer County, and Montgomery County. We can be reached at 215.741.7031

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