back pain

HOW IS LOWER BACK PAIN DIAGNOSED?

A doctor or medical practitioner will perform a complete medical history and physical examination. This usually identify any serious conditions that may cause the pain. Imaging tests are not needed in most cases but may be ordered to rule out specific causes of pain like fracture, tumors and spinal stenosis.

Tests include:

  • Blood tests – these are not routinely used to diagnose the cause of back pain but might be ordered to look for signs of inflammation, infection, cancer, arthritis.
  • Discography – involves injecting a contrast dye into a spinal disc thought to be causing low back pain. The dye helps to show the damaged areas on CT scans taken following the injection.
  • Bone scans – can detect and monitor  infection, fracture or bone disorder. A small amount of radiative material is injected into the blood stream and collects in the bones, particularly in the area with some abnormality.
  • Electrodiagnostic – can identify problems related to the nerves. (This procedure include electromyography (EMG), nerve conduction studies (NCS), evoked potential studies).
  • Diagnostic imaging tests (this includes computerised tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI0, x-rays.
  •  Myelograms.

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