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What to expect: Your primary care doctor may order tests like blood work or an MRI to check for infection or tumor.   

 

Unexplained Weight Loss

When you have unexpected and unexplained weight loss, your doctor may want to rule out infection and tumors as possible causes for your back pain.  

What to expect: Your primary care doctor may order tests such as blood work or an MRI to check for infection or tumor. If these tests are negative, you may be given pain medication and other tests may be performed to see if there is another underlying cause for your weight loss. You may also receive pain medication and physical therapy for your back pain.  

 

Prolonged Pain (6+ weeks)

Because 90% of back pain cases get better within six weeks, your doctor will want to investigate more serious underlying causes if your pain is still severe after that much time passes.

What to expect: After an evaluation of your symptoms and a physical exam, your primary care doctor may order blood work and imaging tests to help determine a diagnosis.

 

Advanced Age

When you're over 70, there's an increased risk for infection, tumors, and abdominal causes of back pain.

What to expect: Your doctor may perform diagnostic tests including blood work and imaging to rule out underlying causes of your pain.

 

IV Drug Use

People who have prolonged use of IV drugs are more susceptible to infection.

What to expect: Your doctor will mostly likely order blood work to rule out infection. If an infection is found, you'll take antibiotics in addition to pain medication.

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