Skip to content

Back Pain Health Center

Font Size

Low Back Pain - Exams and Tests

Your doctor will begin by asking questions about your medical history, your symptoms, and your work and physical activities. He or she will also do a physical exam. The questions and exam can help rule out a serious cause for your pain. Your doctor may also ask questions about stress at home and at work that may make you more susceptible to chronic pain.

If your back pain has lasted for less than 6 weeks, it may be best to wait to do any testing. This is because most back pain goes away on its own in a month or so.

But if you have a back pain problem that has lasted longer than 6 weeks, or if your doctor thinks you may have more than muscle pain, it might be time for a test.

Which tests are used?

Tests for low back pain include:

Sometimes other tests can be useful, such as a bone scan or an electromyogram and nerve conduction. These are used to look for bone, nerve, and muscle/nerve problems that might be causing low back pain.

Low Back Pain: Should I Have an MRI?

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 16, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    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