Physical Exam for Spinal Stenosis
A physical exam for
spinal stenosis includes examination of the spine and
- The strength of the leg and foot muscles (motor
examination). Weakness in certain muscles can indicate problems in specific
nerve roots in the spine.
- Sensation in the legs and feet (sensory
examination). Altered sensations of light touch, temperature, bone vibration,
or pain can indicate problems in specific nerve roots in the
- Reflexes in the legs and feet.
- Your balance and
ability to walk (gait). An abnormal balance or gait can indicate problems in
specific nerve roots in the spine.
- Your rectal function, to
determine the health of the nerves controlling the bowel.
You will probably be asked to stand or walk around until symptoms
begin. These tests may be repeated to compare results.
Other tests that may be done include the straight-leg-raising test
and testing the range of motion in the hips to check for signs of
osteoarthritis in the hips.
You can have spinal stenosis and still have a normal physical exam.
Your doctor will carefully consider your symptoms and the results of imaging
tests, such as
MRI, before making a diagnosis.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
February 18, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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Physical Exam for Spinal Stenosis Topics