Most of us have experienced back pain at some point. Perhaps your back pain was merely the result of a dropped muscle, but if a more serious injury or chronic condition is the root, your back pain may be sticking around. The first step to getting the appropriate treatment is to correctly diagnose the underlying cause of your pain.
Problems with your back may also cause problems in other parts of your body. Your spinal cord contains all the major nerves in your body, which then extend out to your different extremities. If your vertebrae or spinal fluid encroach on the spinal cord, you may feel pain in your arms or legs, or a tingling numbness. When this happens in your legs, it's called sciatica. However, it can also occur in the upper body. Therefore, if you have symptoms like pain in your neck or arms, your doctor may also check your back.
Determining the Cause of Back Pain
It can be difficult to determine the cause of back pain because our spines are so intricate, with plenty of opportunities for weakness and injury. Your doctor will likely start by asking you about your daily activities and routines; some back pain is caused by repetitive stress, that is, performing the same motion over and over again. If this is the case, changing your habits or even getting a new desk chair may be enough to cure you!
However, if simple fixes do not help, your back pain may be caused by a more serious injury, a chronic condition, or a degenerative condition. To diagnose these, your doctor will need to perform more tests.
One diagnostic tool he or she may use is a digital motion x-ray, or DMX. A digital motion x-ray differs from a traditional x-ray because it allows you to capture images of your body in motion. This is highly beneficial because often patients experience pain only when they move in a certain direction or complete a specific activity.
A digital motion x-ray works by capturing about 30 images per second. It combines traditional x-ray techniques with new optical and digital technology. Depending on the kind of pain you're experiencing, the doctor may take the x-ray while you're standing still or in a weight bearing position.
Unlike other x-ray techniques, the digital motion x-ray can be used to evaluate all the ligaments in your cervical spine (your neck). The device can also be used to detect damage to your ligaments that can not be seen with MRI's or traditional x-rays.
Getting a digital motion x-ray is a quick and easy procedure that does not take much longer than capturing a traditional x-ray. However, it offers unprecedented diagnostic power.
If you experience back pain or pain in neck, back, or extremities, ask your doctor if a digital motion x-ray could help pinpoint the cause of your condition.