How is low back pain diagnosed ?

Extensive testing, including X-rays, MRI/CT scans, EMGs, and lab tests are necessary in only a small number of cases. If the pain is caused by trauma, a neurological change, persistent fever, or if the patient is losing weight, one or more of these imaging test may be done immediately.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/01/2016.


  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Back Pain Information Page Accessed 12/29/2016.
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Low Back Pain Accessed 12/29/2106.
  • Bhangle SD, Sapru S, Panush RS. Back pain made simple: an approach based on principles and evidence. Cleve Clin J Med. 2009;76:393–399.
  • North American Spine Society. Chronic Low Back Pain (PDF) Accessed 12/29/2016.

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