A thorough medical history and physical exam are usually enough to identify the cause of pain. The cause of the pain can be determined using neurologic tests. Although imaging tests are not necessary in all cases, they may be required to rule out certain causes of pain such as tumors or spinal stenosis. Sometimes, chronic lower back pain can be difficult to diagnose even after thorough examination.
These tests include:
Blood tests They are not used routinely to diagnose back pain, but may be ordered to check for signs of infection, cancer, or arthritis.
Discography Injecting contrast dye into the spinal disc to treat low back pain is possible. If the disc is the problem, the fluid pressure will replicate the symptoms. On CT scans taken after the injection, the dye shows the affected areas.
Bone scans An infection, fracture or other bone disorder can be detected and monitored. Radioactive material is injected into your bloodstream. It collects in your bones in certain areas. Scanner-generated images are useful for identifying areas with abnormal bone metabolism and abnormal blood flow. They also allow you to measure the level of joint disease.
Electromyography (EMG) The electrical activity of a muscle is measured and can be used to determine if it has become weaker due to a problem in the nerves controlling the muscles. To measure the electrical activity of the muscles, very fine needles are inserted into them.
Electrodiagnostics It can detect problems in the legs and back. These procedures include:
evoked potential studies Two sets of electrodes are used: one set is to stimulate a sensory neuron, the other to record the speed at which nerve signal transmissions to brain occur.
Computerized tomography Soft tissue structures can be shown that are not visible on standard x-rays. This includes disc ruptures, spinal stenosis or tumors.
nerve conduction studies (NCS)To detect nerve damage, you can also use two sets electrodes to stimulate a nerve that runs to a specific muscle.
Diagnostic imaging tests Allows specialists to view the body without needing to do exploratory surgery. Imaging includes:
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).It creates a computer-generated image that includes bony structures as well as soft tissues like muscles, ligaments and tendons. If a problem like an infection, tumor, inflammation or disc herniation, rupture or pressure on a nerve, an MRI may be ordered.
X-ray imaging Broken bones, or a misaligned or injured vertebra can be visible.
How can back pain be treated?
Acute back pain Usually, it will improve on its own. The following are common treatments for acute back pain:
Medications Designed to reduce pain and/or inflammation
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications(NSAIDs) These drugs can be purchased over-the-counter; some NSAIDS must be prescribed by a doctor
analgesics Aspirin and acetaminophen are examples.
Relaxants for the muscles Prescription drugs are short-term medications that can be used to relax tight muscles
Topical pain relief Creams, patches or sprays that are applied to the skin can stimulate the nerves to produce warmth or cold sensations. This is done to reduce the pain sensation. Capsaicin, lidocaine and other topical medications are common.
Heat and/or Ice Some people may experience pain relief, reduced inflammation and improved mobility.
Gentle stretching Your healthcare professional may advise you to avoid vigorous exercise.
Acute back pain is usually not treated with exercise, bed rest, or surgery. It is important to consult with a back pain doctor.
Chronic back pain Most often, it is treated using a stepped approach. This means that you can move from low-cost to more severe treatments. You can also look for spine specialist southbay if spine pain is your main problem. The exact cause of your back pain will determine the treatment options.
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