Diagnosing Lower Back Pain Causes In everything we do in life, determining the problem is the first step taken before performing anything else and the same goes for lower back complications since you need to first comprehend the symptoms, then identify the lower back pain causes, and then treat it. After taking a careful history of the patient, the doctor could already determine likely causes of the pain through a physical spinal exam.
An excellent example of a test undertaken to analyze a patient's spine situation during a medical examination is the Straight Leg Raising Test. With the patient lying down in the supine position (on his back), the doctor holds the ankle while attempting to keep the knee stretched out, and lifts the leg to figure out the range of flexion in the hip joint. There is nerve root compression if pain is experienced on the other leg, also referred to as contralateral radiation.
Some other tests that may help ascertain if a patient has a pinched nerve is with the dorsiflexion of the foot and pressing upon the popliteal fossa where the tibial nerve is located while stretching out a flexed knee. Lumbar herniation may also be discovered with the application of these tests. Except if any symptoms are existing, imaging tests like X-rays and CT scans will not be utilized with acute lower back pain. A doctor can conveniently discover the causes with the use of imaging techniques which is advised for patients suffering from chronic pain.
For lower back pain patients, the following diagnostic checks are some of the most regularly employed in the medical community today...
For lower back pain conditions that hasn't gotten better or has worsened after 30 days this type of test is most suitable. X-rays are suggested in patients who have experienced substantial trauma, patients 50 years old and above who have endured slight shock, those with osteoporosis, and individuals with a history of long term steroid application. X-rays can also spot bone deformities (such as scoliosis), bone fractures, and bone changes because of aging.
Relatively comparable to an X-ray, a myelogram involves injecting a radio-opaque dye into the spinal canal of the patient. This test is done along with a CT scan if surgical procedure is planned on the patient.
Though not a good idea for acute cases, patients with lower back pain symptoms that are indicative of spinal canal or bone infection, fracture, tumor, or cauda equina syndrome must take a CT scan test.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
Recommended for the same illnesses as in CT scans. There have been inconclusive results when it pertains to the application of this test to locate disc herniations. Almost 20% of ruptured discs revealed during surgical treatment have not been detected by the MRI conducted in one research. In 40% of cases, MRI tests of patients without low back pain shown to have bulging discs.
This test can find weakness in the vertebrae like osteoporosis. Although lower back pain is not a manifestation of osteoporosis, bone cracks resulting from this affliction show itself with pain.
Electrical activity in the affected muscle areas can be monitored by inserting tiny, fine needles into them. The EMG test will help determine the level of nerve root damage and it will help the doctor differentiate between muscle disease and nerve root disease in chronic lower back pain cases.
Lower back pain causes can be quickly identified, with the application of these imaging strategies, by the physician.
Avoid wasteful tests and unnecessary diagnostic procedures by identifying lower back pain causes and lower back pain symptoms before you see a doctor