If the pain in your back worsens, or you can’t find relief through moderate exercise and over the counter medications, it’s time to see a doctor to find the cause of lower back pain. There can be many reasons why you’re having back pain and they can extend beyond simple muscle sprains. Finding the cause can be tricky though, because many times the problem won’t show up on an x-ray or MRI. For example, a spine slightly out of alignment with your body may not be very noticeable, yet it causes d8aily pain.

The doctor will do many tests to begin eliminating each possible cause of lower back pain. For example, he or she will manipulate the leg through various moves to determine if the pain increases or results in pain elsewhere in the body. Some tests you will be familiar with such as the reflex test. Other tests may be unfamiliar but they are very simple. If the doctor determines the basic moves indicate further testing is necessary to find the cause of lower back pain, the next steps will be taken.

Some of the tests the doctor will perform entail the use of very high tech medical equipment. Each test can provide a higher level of detail of your spine and surrounding muscle and ligaments. Most people have had an x-ray in their life, but an x-ray will only show bones. If the cause of lower back pain is muscle, tendon, ligament or nerve damage, the x-ray is pretty much a useless test.

The MRI, on the other hand, gives a lot more information about your back. It can show the doctor the condition of every part of the structure of your back including the nerves and discs. There are so many possible causes of lower back pain, that when pain won’t subside, the MRI is a great tool for diagnostic testing. Other testing methods include a CAT scan or a discogram. A discogram involves injecting dye into the spinal discs to pinpoint the source of pain.

So what can be the cause of lower back pain? There are numerous conditions that can result in ongoing back pain.

* Herniated disc
* Pinched nerve
* Strained muscle
* Spinal tumor
* Degenerative disease
* Infection
* Arthritis
* Osteoporosis
* Fractures

With all these potential causes of back pain, it’s no wonder it can take several months and lots of testing to determine the problem. The lower back is particularly susceptible to pain, because it has a lot of pressure put on it while sitting. People who sit at desks all day frequently end up with lower back pain. In that case, strengthening the lower back muscles can work wonders. There are even special chairs made that take the strain and pressure off the lower back while sitting.

The good news is that most of the time the cause of lower back pain is quite simple, and can be corrected with moderate exercise.