MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, is a type of powerful radiographic study that provides a clear diagnostic picture without using radiation. The MRI image gives enhanced views of the body part in question. An MRI scan of the spine, for example, provides a superior view of the discs in the back, as well as the nerves and other soft tissues.

The doctor can look at the MRI films and determine whether there is a pinched nerve, a degenerative disc, a tumor, or in some cases spinal stenosis. The doctor may use the MRI to correlate with the patient’s symptoms and physical exam. The greatest advantage of the MRI is in its ability to allow the physician to see inside the body without the need for surgery or potentially harmful radiation.