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What to Expect

On your first visit to the doctor with complaints of back pain, your doctor will begin by getting your complete health history, followed by a physical examination.

The history and physical examination are needed before your condition can be accurately diagnosed or treated. By getting this information, your doctor can begin to determine the source of your problem. To help get your physical history, your doctor may ask you some questions about your pain and symptoms. The information you give can help your doctor determine your diagnosis.

Examples of the questions that you may be asked include:

  • When did your pain first begin?
  • Was there an injury that may have caused your pain?
  • Are you aware of work postures or other factors that may be causing your pain?
  • Do you have a family history of similar problems?
  • Where do you feel the pain? What is the intensity?
  • Does the pain radiate to other parts of your body?
  • What makes the pain feel better or worse?
  • Have you had problems with your bladder or bowels?

During your first visit, the doctor may also order some tests to help with your diagnosis. These tests may include an X-ray, CT scan, MRI, EMG or blood test.