Skip to content

Back Pain Health Center

Select An Article

What Kind of Back Problem Do You Have?

Font Size

How Do I Know What Kind of Back Problem I Have?

Unless you are totally immobilized from a back injury, your doctor probably will examine your range of motion and nerve function and touch your body to locate the area of discomfort.

Blood and urine tests may be done to determine if the pain is caused by an infection or other systemic problem.
 

X-rays are useful in pinpointing broken bones or other skeletal defects. They can sometimes help locate problems in connective tissue. To analyze soft-tissue or disc damage, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans may be needed. X-rays and imaging studies are generally used to confirm your symptoms and exam results to identify the source of pain. Scans are also utilized in cases of direct trauma to the back, back pain with fever, or weakness or numbness in the limbs. To determine possible nerve or muscle damage, an electromyogram (EMG) may be ordered.

Recommended Related to Back Pain

Neck Strain and Whiplash

Neck strain is often just called whiplash. Although it's usually associated with car accidents, any impact or blow that causes your head to jerk forward or backward can cause neck strain. The sudden force stretches and tears the muscles and tendons in your neck. Neck strain afflicts many amateur and professional athletes. People who play contact sports like football are especially prone to neck strain. Neck strains are often confused with neck sprains. They're a bit different. Neck strains are...

Read the Neck Strain and Whiplash article > >

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on May 29, 2014
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Woman holding lower back
Or is it another form of back pain?
Hand on back
Eight out of 10 us will have it. Here’s the myths vs. the facts.
 
Woman doing pilates
Good and bad exercises
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Use it to manage your pain.
 
Man with enhanced spinal column, rear view
Video
pain in brain and nerves
Slideshow
 
Chronic Pain Healtcheck
Health Check
break at desk
Article
 
Woman holding lower back
Slideshow
Weight Loss Surgery
Slideshow
 
lumbar spine
Slideshow
back pain
Article