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What Kind of Back Problem Do You Have?

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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.

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Understanding Back Pain -- Symptoms

Most people have experienced back pain sometime in their life. The causes of back pain are numerous; some are self-inflicted due to a lifetime of bad habits. Other back pain causes include accidents, muscle strains, and sports injuries. Although the causes may be different, most often they share the same symptoms. Symptoms of back pain can include: Persistent aching or stiffness anywhere along your spine, from the base of the neck to the tail bone Sharp, localized pain in the neck, upper...

Read the Understanding Back Pain -- Symptoms article > >

WebMD Medical Reference

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