Back Pain Diagnosis and Management

Back Pain Diagnosis

There are different types of back pain and many causes to rule out. The endless variants and differences among patients make this symptom a bit difficult to interpret and understand. Back pain sometimes turns out to be a very obscure health problem without a traceable cause. In others, it is acute and has all the signs and symptoms doctors need to make a diagnosis.

In short, there are three sources of back pain. They are axial back pain, radicular back pain, and referred back pain. Axial back pain has to do with the mechanical function of the spine, and it is usually located in the sacral and lumbar regions. Radicular back pain refers to nerve-related pain, usually caused by disc degeneration and nerve compression. Referred back pain comes from another area, generally close to the spine, which receives the same nerve terminals. When nerves are stimulated, the brain interprets the pain as it comes from the back when another region is affected.

All three forms of back pain are common in the United States and other parts of the world. Actually, low back pain ranks fifth as the most common cause of doctor visits in the United States, and there are still many undiagnosed cases.

In this article, we will walk you through the diagnostic process of back pain. We will talk about the different steps doctors take to understand your pain and know what to do about it. They include a patient’s history, a physical exam, and imaging tests useful to confirm the diagnosis.