Examination of Low Back Pain

Updated: Apr 17, 2017
  • Author: Bradley J Sandella, DO, ATC; Chief Editor: Vinod K Panchbhavi, MD, FACS  more...
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Overview

Background

A standardized clinical examination of the lumbar spine is critical in the evaluation of patients with low back pain. Progressing in an orderly fashion through the different components of the examination ensures accuracy and repeatability.

Every examination should include inspection of the spine followed by active and passive range-of-motion testing, as well as manual muscle testing at the hip and spine. Finally, special testing and palpation are used to confirm findings appreciated earlier in the examination.

See Back Pain: Find the Cause, Watch for the Comeback, a Critical Images slideshow, to help diagnose and manage this common problem.