When diagnosing back pain, a doctor needs to take an approach similar to a detective. Listening to the patient about how the pain started, and what they were doing when they first felt it will shed many valuable clues. By reviewing a patient’s medical history conclusions can be drawn from former ailments or injuries as well. Once an idea of what may be occurring has been established, diagnostic tests should be performed to confirm these suspicions.
Diagnosing Back Pain through Medical Imaging
The three most common imaging methods that are performed to diagnose back and neck pain are X-rays, CT-Scans, and MRIs. An X-ray or CT scan can prove valuable in some circumstances, but an MRI is much more accurate in detail and will prove more useful.
Three Approached to Medical Imaging
- X-Ray – Also known as a projectional radiograph, is taken to determine if there is a break or an anomaly in a bony structure. The images are only useful in conditions that affect the bone, although some X-ray procedures are performed with an injection of die to further visualize other structures.
- CT – Scan – An imaging device that takes multiple images or splices in an area of the body. The multiple images are able to then show a two dimensional image of the section of the body. This is a more accurate and advanced form of X-ray that is often used if the patient has no access to an MRI machine.
- MRI – This imaging device uses magnetism to create an accurate visualization of the different soft tissues at a location in the body. Because it is able to show images of tissues rather than just bony structures, the usefulness of the images are much greater. An MRI is able to show both two dimensional and three dimensional images.
Confirming the Diagnosis
Although imaging is quite accurate in finding the malady causing pain, an injection of a numbing agent can further help to accurate locate where the damage is. If an injection of solution is delivered to the damaged area that alleviates the patient’s painful symptoms, it can be assumed that target is the cause of the problem.
Once confirmation has been made, a treatment program can then be developed or if needed surgery can be scheduled. Do you suffer from back pain? Have you been diagnosed with a condition affecting either your back or neck? Use our one of a kind online diagnostic tool to put yourself at ease and begin your road to recovery. Click here for more information.