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Often, orthopaedic doctors can recognize a spinal cord disorder based on its characteristic pattern of symptoms. Doctors always do a physical examination, which provides clues to the diagnosis and, if the spinal cord is damaged, helps doctors determine where the damage is located. An imaging test is usually then done to confirm the diagnosis and determine the cause. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the most accurate imaging test for spinal cord disorders. MRI shows the spinal cord, as well as abnormalities in the soft tissues around the cord (such as abscesses, hematomas, tumors, and ruptured disks) and in bone (such as tumors, fractures, and cervical spondylosis). If MRI is not available or cannot be done, myelography with computed tomography (CT) is used.