5 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Back Pain
the body's way of telling you something is wrong. Your doctor's job is
interpreting that message to find the source of the problem. However, with back
pain, this isn't always easy — finding the cause of the pain can be difficult. Most
doctors will advise you to self-manage the pain to see if it subsides before
spending too much time on finding an exact cause. Most incidents of back pain are
short-lived and heal on their own.
If you experience any of the more
severe warning signs or your pain has not gone away after practicing the
recommended management techniques, it may be time for your doctor to conduct a
full physical examination. There are several tests that might be used to better
understand your pain depending on your symptoms and medical history. These
include X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI),
and electromyograms (EMGs).
Talking to your doctor about the
nature of the pain is a critical step in the diagnostic and treatment
processes. Be an informed patient by asking your doctor these important
1. Cause of Pain
Do you think you know the cause
of my back pain? Is it possible to find the exact cause?
2. Tests for Back Pain
What kind of tests will you use
to find the cause of my back pain? How accurate are the tests?
3. Red Flags
Are there any red flags I should
watch for that could indicate a more serious condition? What are the symptoms
of these conditions?
4. Living With Back Pain
What type of self-management
techniques can I use to alleviate some of my back pain? How much physical
activity can I handle?
5. Treatment Options
What are some medical options for
treating back pain? At what point would you recommend prescription drugs,
alternative therapies, or surgery?