Causes & Diagnosis
What Causes Back Pain?
The causes of back pain can be complex. Some causes of back pain include accidents, muscle strains, and sports injuries.
How Is Back Pain Diagnosed?
In addition to performing a complete history and physical exam for your back pain, your doctor may suggest one of the following diagnostic studies: X-rays, which can be used to provide detail of the bone structures in the spine and to check for instability (such as spondylolisthesis, see below), tumors, and fractures.
CT scans, which can identify specific conditions, such as a herniated disc or spinal stenosis.
MRI scans, which can provide details about the backs' discs and nerve roots. MRI scans are most commonly used for pre-surgical planning.
CT scans, which can identify specific conditions, such as a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. A number of other imaging and electrical studies may also be used to identify back problems, and some injections are used for diagnostic purposes as well as for pain relief.
Types of Back Injury:
Spondylolisthesis: This is a slipping of vertebra that occurs, in most cases, at the base of the spine. Spondylolysis, which is a defect or fracture of one or both wing-shaped parts of a vertebra, can result in vertebrae slipping backward, forward, or over a bone below.
Cervical Radiculopathy: Cervical radiculopathy is the damage or disturbance of nerve function that results if one of the nerve roots near the cervical vertebrae is compressed. Damage to nerve roots in the cervical area can cause pain and the loss of sensation in various upper extremities, depending on where the damaged roots are located.