A medical evaluation is needed for your doctor to diagnose your spine or disc problem and rule out other problems. This evaluation may include a medical history, physical exam and other diagnostic tests. After diagnosis, a team approach to treatment often works best. Each member of your tram – your doctor, physical therapist and you – plays a role in improving your spine or disc problem.


A medical history helps your doctor evaluate your back pain and other medical problems. Your doctor may ask a variety of questions.

  • What are your symptoms?
  • Did your pain begin gradually?
  • What makes it better or worse?
Physical Examination
Your doctor begins to pinpoint the source of pain by observing your spine and posture in different positions. Your doctor also may check to see how flexible or strong your muscles are, and whether you have weak reflexes or painful or numb areas in your legs.

Diagnosis Test

You may have one or more tests to confirm your diagnosis and locate the source of your pain. These tests also may help your doctor determine the best approach to your treatment.

A team approach to treatment

Once your doctor has diagnosed your spine or disc problem and prescribed the best treatment plan for you, a physical therapist may join your health team. an expert in body mechanics, spine care, and back exercises, your physical therapist can teach you specific self-care techniques. by regularly using them, you can help improve your spine or disc problem. even in the rare cases when surgery is needed, self-care is a crucial part of recovery. if you have acute pain, however, treatment may also include rest or medication.

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