Lower back pain Livingston, doctors employ a variety of approaches to pinpoint the potential causes of your back pain, aiding in the formulation of the most effective treatment strategy. This blog outlines key considerations that professionals evaluate to facilitate your complete recovery.
Table of Contents
Assessment of Medical and Family Background
In diagnosing the origins of your back pain, your medical practitioner will delve into your medical and family history. This step serves to identify any underlying medical conditions or injuries that might be contributing to the pain. Inquiry questions may include:
- Can you characterize your pain? (e.g., sharp, throbbing, burning)
- Where exactly is the location of your back pain?
- When did the pain initiate, and for how long have you been experiencing it?
- What activities were you engaged in when you first noticed the pain?
- How intense is the pain on a scale?
- What factors exacerbate or alleviate the pain?
- Is there a history of chronic pain in your family (such as arthritis or back pain)?
Your medical practitioner is likely to conduct a physical examination encompassing the following elements:
- Analyzing your spine and posture to detect any alterations in the bone structure.
- Requesting you to perform movements like bending or leg lifting to assess how these actions impact your pain.
- Evaluating your reflexes, muscle strength, and sensory responses.
Imaging and Blood Analysis
While the majority of individuals may not require additional tests, there are instances where doctors may prescribe tests to either exclude specific causes for your pain or to affirm a particular source of back pain. Some of the tests your doctor might order include:
- X-rays, which solely visualize bones and are valuable in diagnosing:
- Fractures or broken bones.
- Age-related changes.
- Spinal alignment deviations.
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which employs powerful magnet energy to generate signals that subsequently create cross-sectional images of your back. These images, often referred to as “slices,” are processed by a computer to form a detailed back image. MRI assists in diagnosing soft tissue damage or ailments, such as issues with discs, ligaments, and nerve roots in the spinal region.
- Computerized axial tomography (CAT or CT scan) employ a scanner to capture varied-angle images of the back. A computer then assembles these images into three-dimensional representations of the back. Like MRI, CAT scans aid in diagnosing problems within the spinal canal and adjoining tissues.
- Electrophysiological tests like electromyography (EMG), which gauge the electrical activity within muscles. This test assists in identifying muscle and nerve issues.
- Bone scans utilize small amounts of radioactive substances to enhance visual clarity in the spine, facilitating the identification of fractures and infections.
- Blood tests are employed to uncover potential causes for back pain, including inflammatory or medical disorders.