X-rays: the first study for trauma and local back pain.
CT: the study of choice to evaluate fracture.
MRI: the study for nerve root and cauda equina symptoms.
The most common pitfall in reading a lumbar MRI is focusing on the most obvious abnormality. It’s easy to do: your eye naturally goes to the vertebral slip, or the huge herniated disc. That’s natural, but in every case also be sure to do a systematic reading of the entire study. You’ll save yourself the pain and liability of missing a significant “incidental” finding...