Tests and Diagnostics

What You Need to Know About Tests and Diagnostics

  • In order to get optimal care, the team at University Spine Center must know exactly—and as thoroughly as possible—what health problems you are facing
  • Diagnostic tests are to help your physician accurately understand the cause and extent of your problem
  • You may require other tests to assess your overall health and fitness for surgery or intervention

Your Medical History

In order to get the right treatment, you need to get an accurate diagnosis. Most physicians diagnose patients based on information from a number of sources. One of these sources is you, so it is very important you be as clear and frank as you can with your physician. Tell your physician:

  • Your medical and health history
  • Your symptoms
  • Medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications)
  • Important things about the health history of your family

The Examination

Your University Spine Center physician will also want to examine you and may recommend certain tests. These include routine things, such as recording your height and weight or measuring your blood pressure, but may also include special tests appropriate for your condition.

Diagnostic and Other Tests

In order to provide the best possible treatment, the University Spine Center will want to diagnose your condition and test other related conditions as accurately as it can. This may involve:

  • A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner
  • A computerized tomography (CT) scanner
  • An ultrasound device
  • X-rays
  • Blood tests
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) tests to check your heart rhythm
  • Urine tests

This list is not comprehensive. Certain other tests may be required, which can be discussed in advance with your physician.


Scoliosis is an abnormal curving of the spine. It occurs in a surprisingly large number of children as well as adults. Unfortunately, there are no early markers for scoliosis.

Many parents find out that their child has scoliosis only after back pain, extreme fatigue, and abnormal posture become visibly apparent. Even physicians may miss the first signs of scoliosis in a child—at the right point to begin effective treatment. Now there is a new test called ScoliScore that can help diagnose scoliosis.

ScoliScore is a noninvasive saliva-based DNA test that looks at genetic markers to determine if the scolioisis will progress. The use of ScoliScore may decrease unnecessary tests, X-rays, and bracing for the child. The University Spine Center is pleased to offer this highly advanced ScoliScore testing system as part of its comprehensive program of back and spine care. To see a video of this test, click here.

Privacy and Test Results

Your University Spine Center medical team will discuss the results of these tests with you. If you would like the results shared with other people, such as a spouse, tell the University Spine Center so that this information will be released to them. Privacy laws today do not allow the results of medical tests or medical histories to be shared with anyone besides you without your permission. This can include family members.

Answers to Common Questions About Diagnostic Testing

  • Even if you recently had certain tests done, your University Spine Center doctor may want them done again in order to have the latest results. Many physical conditions can change substantially in even a few weeks.
  • Many diagnostic tests are covered by insurance. However, insurance coverage varies by company, policy, and state. If you are concerned about whether or not a particular diagnostic test is covered by your insurance, talk to someone at the University Spine Center before the test is done.
  • Most diagnostic tests are not painful but some can be a bit uncomfortable (such as an MRI that requires you to lie motionless) and some take time. If you want to know exactly what to expect for the tests that are being ordered, talk to your doctor.