Tests for Diagnosing Back Pain

The following are some of the tests that may be used to diagnose the source of back pain:

Ankylosing spondylitis exams and tests

Antinuclear antibodies (ANA)

Bone density tests

Bone scan

Chemistry screen

Complete blood count (CBC)

Computed tomography (CT) scan

C-reactive protein


Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies

Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)

Human leukocyte antigen-B27 (HLA-B27) testing

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Myelography (Uncommon or not commonly used)

Rheumatoid factor (RF)

Spinal X-ray


Your doctor may perform a urinalysis to rule out pyelonephritis, a kidney infection which can cause back pain. 

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on November 10, 2019



North American Spine Society: "Radiographic Assessment for back Pain."

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: "Handout on Health: Back Pain."

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Low back Pain."


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