How is back pain diagnosed?

A careful evaluation of your medical history and a physical examination will help your healthcare provider determine if you have mechanical back pain. He or she will then work with you to create an appropriate treatment plan.

If your healthcare provider has determined your back pain is mechanical, additional testing is not usually necessary. If your symptoms or the examination suggest the possibility of infection, malignancy, or a pinched nerve, additional tests may be done. Additional testing may include blood tests, x-rays, computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and/or nerve conduction studies.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/22/2020.


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