Tests and diagnosis
Your doctor will likely start with a physical exam that includes:
Checking the range of motion in your neck
Testing your reflexes and muscle strength to find out if there's pressure on your spinal nerves or spinal cord
Watching you walk to see if spinal compression is affecting your gait
Imaging tests can provide detailed information to guide diagnosis and treatment. Your doctor might recommend:
Neck X-ray. An X-ray can show abnormalities, such as bone spurs, that indicate cervical spondylosis. Neck X-ray can also rule out rare and more serious causes for neck pain and stiffness, such as tumors, infections or fractures.
CT scan. CT scan can provide more detailed imaging, particularly of bones.
MRI. MRI can help pinpoint areas where nerves might be pinched.
Myelograpy. A tracer dye is injected into the spinal canal to provide more detailed X-ray or CT imaging.