Sciatica pain can range from a mild ache to excruciating pain. It often affects your ability to perform and enjoy your daily activities. At the University of Vermont Medical Center’s Spine program, we offer hope and treatment for patients with mild to severe sciatica.
An accurate diagnosis is crucial to receiving the treatment you need. At University of Vermont Medical Center’s Spine Institute, our spine specialists have years of experience performing and analyzing diagnostic tests for sciatica.
Sciatica Diagnosis: Our Approach
We begin the diagnosis phase begin by listening to you. We encourage you to describe to us in detail about the symptoms you’ve been experiencing—nothing is too minor. This helps us gain a deeper understanding of your condition and how it is affecting your daily functioning.
We believe that an educated patient is a confident patient who can make informed decisions about his or her health care. We work together with you to discuss your test results and plan your treatment. When you leave our office, you will have a full, deep understanding of your condition, how it is affecting your body and what your options are.
What to Expect During Sciatica Diagnosis
After you tell us about your symptoms, we will:
- Ask you further questions about your medical history, general health and symptoms
- Review paperwork from your referring physician
- Analyze previous imaging exams and explain your X-rays and MRIs to you
- Perform a comprehensive physical exam
- Perform X-rays if you haven’t had them before
- If you need an MRI scan, we will help you schedule it, then meet with you again after the exam
- Discuss your treatment options with you
Diagnostic Procedures We Perform
In addition to the physical examination and your symptoms, imaging scans can help us confirm a diagnosis of sciatica. They are also important for ruling out other conditions that may be causing similar symptoms. Imaging scans include:
- X-ray: An X-ray gives us clear, detailed imagines of your spine. It can also detect if there is something pressing on the nerve.
- MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging scans use powerful magnet technology to obtain high-resolution, cross-sectional images. It is usually a longer test than an X-ray and shows other structures such as soft tissue.
- CT scan: Computed tomography scans may be done with a contrast, where we inject a special dye into your spine before taking the images. The contrast solutions highlights the abnormalities, making them easier to see.
You can make an appointment with us by:
- Having your primary care physician send us a referral.
- Calling our clinic directly to make an appointment for yourself.
Learn more about how we treat sciatica.