Back pain - when you see the doctor
St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Men's Center

Back pain - when you see the doctor

Definition

When you first see your health care provider for back pain, you will be asked questions about your back pain, including how often it occurs and how severe it is.

Your health care provider will try to determine the cause of your back pain and whether it is likely to quickly get better with simple measures, such as ice, mild painkillers, physical therapy, and proper exercises.

Information

Questions your health care provider may ask may include:

  • Is your back pain on one side only or both sides?
  • What does the pain feel like? Is it dull, sharp, throbbing, or burning?
  • Is this the first time you have had back pain?
  • When did the pain begin? Did it start suddenly?
  • Did you have an injury or accident?
  • What were you doing just before the pain began? For example, were you lifting or bending? Sitting at your computer? Driving a long distance?
  • If you have had back pain before, is this pain similar or different? In what way is it different?
  • Do you know what caused your back pain in the past?
  • How long does each episode of back pain usually last?
  • Do you feel the pain anywhere else, such as in your hip, thigh, leg or feet?
  • Do you have any numbness or tingling? Any weakness or loss of function in your leg or elsewhere?
  • What makes the pain worse? Lifting, twisting, standing, or sitting for long periods of time?
  • What makes you feel better?

You will also be asked if you have other symptoms, which may be a sign of a more serious cause. Tell your health care provider if you have had weight loss, fever, a change in urination or bowel habits, or a history of cancer.

Your health care provider will perform a physical exam to try to find the exact location of your pain, and determine how it affects your movement. You will be asked to:

  • Sit, stand, and walk
  • Walk on your toes and then your heels
  • Bend forward, backward, and sideways
  • Lift your legs straight up while lying down

If the pain is worse when you lift your legs straight up while lying down, you may have sciatica, especially if you also feel numbness or tingling in one of your legs.

Your health care provider will also move your legs into different positions, including bending and straightening your knees.

Your health care provider will use a rubber hammer to check your reflexes and to see if your nerves are working properly. He or she will touch your skin in many places, using a pin, cotton swab, or feather. This reveals how well you can feel, or sense, things. tests. Tell your health care provider if there are areas where the sensation from the pin, cotton, or feather is duller.

References

Chou R, Qaseem A, Snow V, Casey D, Cross JT Jr, Shekelle P, et al. Diagnosis and treatment of low back pain: a joint clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society. Ann Intern Med. 2007;147:478-491.



Review Date: 6/29/2011
Reviewed By: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com


Back  |  Top
About Us
Contact Us
History
Mission
Locations & Directions
Quality Reports
Annual Reports
Honors & Awards
Community Health Needs
Assessment

Newsroom
Services
Brain & Spine
Cancer
Heart
Maternity
Orthopedics
Pulmonary
Sleep Medicine
Urgent Care
Women's Services
All Services
Patients & Visitors
Locations & Directions
Find a Physician
Tour St. Luke's
Patient & Visitor Information
Contact Us
Payment Options
Financial Assistance
Send a Card
Mammogram Appointments
Health Tools
My Personal Health
mystlukes
Spirit of Women
Health Information & Tools
Clinical Trials
Health Risk Assessments
Employer Programs -
Passport to Wellness

Classes & Events
Classes & Events
Spirit of Women
Donate & Volunteer
Giving Opportunities
Volunteer
Physicians & Employees
For Physicians
Remote Access
Medical Residency Information
Pharmacy Residency Information
Physician CPOE Training
Careers
Careers
St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile