If you’ve been struggling with back pain and you’re like the majority of patients, you’ve been resisting seeking help from a doctor. It’s one of the most frustrating but frequently-seen tendencies among patients: they procrastinate about making an appointment, and then regret not having come in sooner. Though there are plenty of excuses and apologies, the bottom line is that people are afraid that they’ll be told that they need surgery – and they endure unnecessary pain as a result.
Back pain can originate from many different sources, and the first step to an effective treatment plan is getting diagnosed. You may assume that you slept wrong or pulled a muscle when in fact you’re suffering from degenerative disc disease or a pinched nerve. Not having a proper diagnosis not only means not getting the treatment you need – it may also lead to mistakenly pursuing the wrong treatment and losing valuable healing time.
When you come in to our lumbar spine specialty practice in New Jersey for diagnosis, you will quickly find that guesswork is set aside and clinically-based detective work will begin. We will start with getting as much information about you, your medical history and your pain as possible, then proceed to a physical examination. Based on the information gleaned from these two processes, we will order appropriate tests and imaging studies to confirm or rule out a variety of differential diagnoses.
This is where we sit down and talk to you. We will ask you questions about the quality and characteristics of your pain, when it started and how much it affects your daily life, what your activity levels are, and more. We’ll also ask about your medical history – any illnesses or procedures you’ve had that may play a role or give us a better understanding of your overall health.
Our goal in conducting a physical examination is to determine what hurts, what makes it feel better, your range of motion and your limitations. There are physical tests that may seem silly, like asking you to push against or pull or twist or bend, but what they reveal can actually tell us a great deal, and guide us in the diagnostic imaging studies that we order or the physical therapy or massage therapy that we suggest.
There are a number of scans and studies that can reveal essential information about the health of your bones, tissues, ligaments and more. Based on the information gathered during your initial exam, our lumbar spine specialist may order an X-ray, a CT scan, an MRI or blood work – all of these tests can provide invaluable information and a virtual roadmap to the source of your pain.
If you are looking for relief from your back pain, the fastest and most effective route is through your doctor’s diagnosis. To set up an appointment with our lumbar spine specialist and begin the process, call our office today.