With any health condition, most doctors agree an accurate diagnosis is important. But with low back pain, it seems that many sufferers postpone a visit to the doctor in hopes that it will go away on its own. It’s no wonder many patients take this approach, since advertisements continually tell us that relief comes in a bottle of little pills. We are almost led to believe that finding out what is wrong with our back is of little importance, that we just need to block the pain and get on with our lives.
But we need to understand that pain is a signal the body puts out to get our attention—to tell us to take it easy, move less, and so on. Despite what pill advertisers would like you to believe, pain is not the problem, it is a signal there is a problem.
If you don’t immediately reach for drugs, then maybe you think taking to bed rest for a couple of days and saying the five magic words, “...maybe it will go away..” would do the trick? Sometimes it does help the pain, but this approach rarely helps the actual problem. Doing this over and over can actually lead to more significant issues, because you are not getting the care you need.
And in order to get the care you need, you need to receive a diagnosis as to what’s causing your back pain, which starts with a thorough examination. Such an examination may also include mechanical tests to see how your spine moves and when necessary, your doctor may order imaging studies (such as x-rays) to see the positions of the bones in your spine. Only then can your doctor provide you with a treatment plan or recommendation to get you back to living a pain-free life.