Types of Diagnostic Tests

The Most Common Types of Diagnostic Tests for Back Pain

If your doctor says that your back pain's clinical examination shows something that needs closer looks or confirmation, he can opt from a wide array of types of diagnostic tests that can be individually used or in conjunction with others, each of which can help in finding out the ideal cause for your treatment of back pain for your particular condition.

A lot of these types of diagnostic tests are non-invasive, which means that they do not make use of any needles or anything that will intrude on your body. Plus, they only present minimal discomfort for the data that they have to offer. The majority of them cannot be avoided unless your doctor is completely convinced that any possible findings could lead to different strategies of back pain treatment.

Here are the most common types of diagnostic tests prescribed for back pain:

X-Rays or Radiography

X-ray images, also known as x-rays, are created through a kind of radiation that can penetrate through the body. This method is most commonly used for taking pictures of what is inside your body without any invasive tactics. After the clinical examination to find out the cause behind your back pain, doctors might make use of basic x-rays to search for tumours and fractures. Not good for viewing soft tissue, like disks, they can show bone spurs that may be pinching nerves, or even osteoporosis.

Also called radiographs, x-rays get analysed by radiographers; these refer to experts who decipher things that look like shadows to regular people. CT scans, myelograms, and other types of diagnostic tests also involve x-rays. Continuous x-rays can be seen via instruments called fluoroscopes.


If clinical examinations show that you may be suffering from spinal stenosis, pinched nerves, or other conditions that your doctor thinks may require surgery for back pain relief, myelograms may be done. Even though this test is invasive and sometimes uncomfortable, it can offer highly clear pictures that show the nature, extent, and location of the problem.

For myelograms, radiopaque dye will appear on x-rays and get injected into the spine through lumbar puncture. Then, you will have to lie on a table with your face down and will be tilted to and fro slowly to let dye flow into the spine and outline it along with its area’s nerve roots. X-rays will be taken from various angles. If the dye cannot be seen within particular areas, it may show nerve roots or the spine getting pinched by bone spurs or herniated disks or the appearance of cysts, scar tissue, or tumours.

Myelograms are usually performed along with CT scans since the radiopaque dye creates sharper CT scan pictures.