What is a Thoracic-Lumbar Spine X-Ray?
Think of your body as a football team – every piece is a different player on the field, working in sync to score a touchdown. Your “touchdown” can be running a marathon, walking down the street, or it can even be getting off the couch to grab another cookie.
But in order for your body to do all these things, there are a few key players that are necessary. Your brain and spinal cord are your quarterback, calling all the plays and making sure each individual player is doing their job. That would make your spinal column the body’s offensive guard, meaning it is tasked with the very important role of protecting your spinal cord quarterback. And if there is a cardinal rule in football, it is to always protect your quarterback.
The spinal column serves many important functions, making it difficult to identify its single most important role. The spine is responsible for allowing us to bend, twist, and lean and it also plays an integral role in supporting the weight of the body. But perhaps the most important function of the spinal column is to protect the spinal cord.
Without the protection provided by the anatomical components of the spinal column, the spinal cord would be unable to send nerve impulses, which control almost all bodily functions, to the brain and the rest of the body. Similarly, without the immediate protection provided by the offensive guards, the quarterback would be left defenseless, making it exponentially harder to complete the play.
There are four regions of the spine: cervical (neck), thoracic (middle back), lumbar (lower back), and sacral (tailbone).
An X-Ray of the Thoracic-Lumbar Spine may be performed to evaluate the structure of bones and soft tissues in the mid-back area. It may also be ordered to identify the cause of neck, shoulder, upper back, or arm pain and discomfort.
Who should get this test?
Your doctor might order a thoracic-lumbar spine X-ray to further investigate:
- birth defects that affect the spine
- bone spurs
- dislocation of a vertebral bone
- herniated disk
- injury to the lower spine
- low back pain
- multiple sclerosis
- pinched nerve
- signs of cancer
Is there radiation involved?
Yes. X-ray is an imaging test which involves a small amount of radiation to show pictures of the organs, tissues, and bones of the body.
When will I receive my results?
Once completed, you will receive your results within 3-5 business days in your LabFinder portal.
How do I prepare? Do I need to fast?
Please refer to the simple preparation guidelines or consult with your doctor or radiology center where you are being treated. Do not forget to bring your LabFinder Order and Insurance Card to your appointment.