There are several steps commonly taken by doctors to diagnose radiculitis:
- Your physician will first take a medical history of your pain as well as explore any family conditions that may be hereditary causing it.
- You will be asked when you first began to notice the pain and symptoms.
- You’ll be asked what you were doing at the time you first felt the pain.
- You’ll be asked if there are specific activities that make the pain worse?
- Lastly, are there are any positions that affect the pain’s severity; positively or negatively?
During the physical examination your doctor will examine and manipulate the area you are feeling pain, as well as perform sensation and reflex tests.
Diagnostic Tests for Radiculitis
X-rays or CT scans may be ordered to rule out other conditions that may be causing your pain and symptoms. An MRI with a dye injection into your spinal canal may be necessary to visualize your soft tissue, spinal cord, and it’s exiting nerve roots. If nerve compression or irritation is suspected, electro diagnostic tests such as an EMG will be performed.
In patients suffering from radiculitis (nerve root irritation) there will be little to no findings on the EMG, whereas someone suffering from radiculopathy (nerve root compression) will show clear abnormalities.