Many times when dealing with back pain a diagnosis is not required or possible. Back pain is a symptom and some studies have suggested that in 85% of cases a cause cannot be identified.
Specialists are very good at detecting serious disease with precision.
As a specialist group we have negotiated discounts for common spinal tests such as MRI scans.
Dealing with serious disorders such as cancer, infection, pressure on the nerves or spinal cord it is often apparent from the history and examination so it may be better to see a specialist BEFORE arranging tests.
Specialist tests are not always required.
Often a good clinical opinion is of greater value than doing tests.
The most common and useful investigation is probably an MRI scan (Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan)
This specialist image shows us the structure of the spine. It can be very helpful when planning surgery.
It can sometimes be used to reassurre patients that there is nothing seriously amiss with the structure of the spine.
However, it is so sensitive that it will often detect things that are not relevant to the specific clinical concern.
An MRI scan can be normal despite the patient experiencing significant back pain
Other tests might include plain x-rays, Computer aided tomography scans (CAT scans), or other imaging.
Sometimes blood tests are needed to exclude certain disorders.