Testing & Diagnosis

When you meet with your primary care physician or spine expert about your back pain, he or she will ask you a series of questions about the length, type and severity of the pain you are experiencing and review your medical history with you. A physical examination will then be performed to carefully evaluate any limitations regarding mobility, look for any deformities and test for weakness which could relate to a spine injury or deformity.

Depending on the results of the physical examination, your physician may also suggest that you undergo additional testing to assist in diagnosing the cause of your pain or to help determine the amount of any damage. This could include x-rays, a CT scan and/or an MRI of the cervical (upper), thoracic, or lumbar (lower) spine.

The cause of the back or neck pain you are experiencing may be caused by:

  • Cervical spondylosis
  • Compression fractures caused by trauma
  • Curvature of the spine, including scoliosis or kyphosis
  • Osteoporosis 
  • Muscle tension or spasms
  • Ruptured or herniated disc
  • Sciatica
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Strain or tears to the muscles or ligaments supporting the back
  • Joint Arthritis

Depending on the diagnosis you receive, or if additional testing is required, referral to a spine surgeon may be made by your primary care physician.