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Back Pain: Diagnosis

When you first go see your doctor or chiropractor for back pain, he or she will most likely begin by taking your medical history and will ask questions about any past injuries you might have had. You should describe the pain you are feeling, and include details like whether the pain is limited to a specific spot or whether it is spread over a wide area. The doctor then may try range of motion tests to see if there are any clues to which muscles may be affected. The doctor or chiropractor might feel around your back to pinpoint the exact spot that is hurting, and also to test the strength of your muscles.

Occasionally you may be asked for a urine or blood test. These tests can show whether an infection is the root cause of your back pain.

Imaging techniques like X-rays will determine whether your pain is caused by a broken bone, and they can be helpful for showing the alignment (or misalignment) of your spine. CT scans can detect herniated discs, while MRIs can see any kind of abnormality in the anatomy of the back.

A good diagnosis is necessary to help your doctor or chiropractor speed your recovery.