Diagnostic Tests for Cervical or Lumbar Herniated Discs

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Herniated discs in the neck and back are the most common type of work-related injury we see in our Minnesota workers’ compensation practice at Meuser Law Office, P.A. Herniated discs in the neck or back can occur as the result of lifting overly heavy objects, awkward lifting, sudden twisting or jerking movements, or impacts, such as falls or being pushed or struck from behind. Herniated discs can also occur as the result of repetitive strain over time, such as repetitive bending, lifting, reaching or twisting.

If you have suffered a work-related injury and suspect you have a herniated disc in your cervical spine (neck) or lumbar spine (low back) as a result, your doctor may refer you to undergo diagnostic testing to determine the extent of the injury. There are several different tests that will provide a better look at the injury and you may be asked to undergo one or more of them.


An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan is the most common test used to diagnose a herniated disc. An MRI scan can image disc bulges, herniations, and nerve root impingement.

CT Scan:

A CT (computerized tomography) scan combines x-ray views from many different angles to produce cross-sectional images of the bones and soft tissues inside your body. A CT scan may also be performed using injected contrast dye, called a CT myelogram, to better visualize nerve root compression.


Discography involves the insertion of a small needle into the discs to inject contrast dye. If the injection reproduces your pain, it confirms that the injected disc is the source of your pain.


An EMG (Electromyography) is an electrical test involving stimulating specific nerves and inserting needles into various muscles in the arms and legs that may be affected by a pinched nerve. An EMG can help confirm the presence of nerve impingement, and help pinpoint which nerve is causing you trouble.

In Minnesota, if you’ve sustained an injury during the course and scope of your job and your doctor directs you to undergo an MRI, a CT scan, a discography, or an EMG to help diagnose your injury, these tests are often covered by Minnesota workers’ compensation insurance. Referrals for diagnostic studies such as MRIs, CT scans, discographies, or EMGs, are commonly disputed in Minnesota workers’ compensation cases.

If the workers’ compensation insurance company is refusing to authorize the diagnostic procedure your doctor has recommended, a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer can help you get the medical care you need.

At Meuser Law Office, P.A. we work on a contingency fee basis, which means our attorney fees are based on the amount we recover on your behalf. It also means that there is no fee unless we recover benefits on your behalf.

Call Meuser Law Office, P.A. at 877-746-5680 for a free, no-obligation Minnesota workers’ compensation legal consultation. Let the experienced attorneys at Meuser Law help you understand this often confusing area of the law and ensure you receive the full benefits you are entitled to.