What to expect during a physical exam with a spine physician in Atlanta, Georgia

A physical exam is an important part of any evaluation by a spine physician. Not only can an exam help you show your physician the areas on your neck and back where you are experiencing symptoms, but it also can help your physician to determine if there is a specific condition that may be contributing to your pain. From a simple sprain due to an injury to degenerative spine conditions such as a herniated disc or spinal bone spurs, there are a variety of reasons that you may be experiencing discomfort in your neck or back. A physical exam will help your doctor to rule out causes and arrive at a more accurate diagnosis.

Components of a physical exam

Every physician in the Atlanta, Georgia, area will have a slightly different approach to performing a physical exam, but they should generally take a similar approach. Typical steps of a physical examination include:

  • A hands-on examination. This allows the physician to check for areas of swelling, tenderness or any abnormal growths around the muscles and joints of your neck or back.
  • A forward bend test. This gives the physician a clearer view of your spine so that he or she can check for abnormal curvature, as is the case with scoliosis.
  • Request that you perform certain movements. Stretches, reflex exercises and muscle strength tests can help a physician determine if you have lost any flexibility or range of motion due to your neck or back discomfort. This could be an indicator of joint problems such as arthritis.

Will I need imaging scans in addition to a physical exam?

Your spine physician in Atlanta, GA, may be able to provide a preliminary diagnosis based on your physical exam and the symptoms that you report. However, imaging tests such as an X-ray, MRI or CT scan may also be necessary for him or her to get a detailed look at the interior of the spine. These tests often are able to reveal problems that are not visible to the naked eye, in addition to any nerve compression that may be present.

Upon diagnosis of the underlying cause of your neck or back pain, many patients are able to find relief by following a course of conservative treatments like physical therapy or medication. If you are considering your surgical options after exhausting conservative treatments, reach out to Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive procedures are a safer and effective alternative to traditional surgery, offering our patients a shorter recovery time and less risk of complication.^

Ask for your free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.