How are back sprains and strains diagnosed?

Mild strains and sprains can usually be diagnosed based on a medical history—including a review of the symptoms and how the injury occurred—and a physical examination by a healthcare provider. In cases of more severe strains and sprains, especially when there is weakness or loss of function, an X-ray may be taken to rule out a fractured (broken) or herniated (bulging) disc as the cause of the back pain.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/09/2018.

References

  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Low Back Pain Fact Sheet. Accessed 11/16/2018.
  • National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Sprains and Strains. Accessed 11/16/2018.
  • American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Back and Neck Pain. Accessed 11/16/2018.
  • American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Low Back Pain. Accessed 11/16/2018.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy