Importance of getting a physical exam to diagnose your spinal condition

When neck or back pain persists for more than two days, you should consult a doctor for a specific diagnosis. This is especially true if the condition is severe and not chronic. One of the initial steps in the diagnostic process is a physical exam. During the physical examination, a doctor will examine your body for any external indicators of abnormalities and disease, paying special attention to the entire length of the spine, as well as the core muscles and spinal joints. Reflexes, nerves and muscular strength may also be tested. A physical exam will usually be performed in conjunction with a review of the patient’s medical history and a discussion of symptoms. To learn more about what a physical exam entails and the next step after receiving your diagnosis, read the following article.

Components of a physical exam involving the neck or back

When examining a patient who is experiencing neck or back pain, a doctor will:

  • Visually observe the back for obvious abnormalities
  • Feel the spine by pressing muscles, vertebrae and joints to determine areas that are painful or tender
  • Observe the patient’s posture for hunching, sagging or other abnormalities brought about by pain
  • Ask the patient to perform certain movements to check range of motion and balance, and to see if certain movements cause the pain to recede or flare up
  • Solicit patient feedback from each activity performed as to pain, pain relief and stiffness

A doctor’s physical examination is often the first step toward diagnosing a prolapsed disc, bulging disc, spondylolisthesis, sciatica or other spinal conditions, although further testing is often necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

Taking the next step to relieve chronic neck or back pain

If you’ve been diagnosed with a painful spinal condition and conservative treatments such as pain medication, physical therapy and chiropractic care do not provide you with lasting relief, then contact Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery^ and can help you recover your health without highly invasive intervention.

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck or back pain. Our surgeons use a less than 1-inch incision and muscle-sparing techniques in order to alleviate chronic neck or back pain and help the patient get back to the activities they love. To determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery, reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for a no-cost MRI review.*