Back pain is one of the most common complaints that people have. In fact, research shows that it affects approximately 80 percent of us. Sometimes it occurs suddenly, other times it builds gradually with wear and tear over years. It can be mild or severe, and be fleeting or a chronic condition. While there are treatment options for back pain including yoga, massage, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, ice, heat, epidural steroid injections, prescription drugs and surgery, choosing the best treatment option for you is often dependent upon finding out what’s causing your back pain—and that can sometimes prove challenging.
Along with discussing your medical history and doing a physical examination, your doctor may choose to do any of the following tests in order to discover the source of your back pain:
An X-ray uses a minimal and safe amount of electromagnetic radiation to create an image on film. It’s a quick and painless way to check for things such as a broken or fractured bone, or an alignment problem.
An MRI scan uses a large magnet and radio waves to produce images of bones, internal organs, and other body structures. An MRI scan is painless; however, it does requires that you remain very still on an exam table inside a long, narrow machine throughout the procedure. An MRI is often used to look for things such as herniated disks or spinal stenosis.
A CT scan uses computer technology and advanced X-ray technology to create cross-sectional images. Doctors use CT scans to look for things such as herniated disks, spinal stenosis or tumors.
While blood tests aren’t always used when searching for the source of back pain, they can sometimes be helpful in diagnosing arthritis, infection or inflammation.
For more information about finding the source of back pain, contact Central Florida Regional Hospital or call 1-800-445-3392 to schedule an evaluation. If you have questions or would like more information on treating your back pain, call our free Consult-A-Nurse® 24 hours a day at 1-800-445-3392.