Health and Fitness

Is Imaging Helpful For Severe Back Pain?

CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays are altogether known as imaging, all these services are offered at nj imaging, Imaging has several advantages for doctors and patients. These tests are used to create a clear picture of the internal body. These images are used for diagnostic purposes. However, the technique is not helpful in case of severe back pain.
Most patients recover from severe or mild back pain in just one month with or without imaging. For instance, imaging may help in numerous procedures. But, it is not helpful in back pain. It may complicate the patient’s recovery process.

What is back pain?

The spine is responsible to control the motion, bending, and moving of the body. It also supports other motion activities like twisting and lifting the weight of the upper body.
Back pain can be a result of an accident or severe injury in the past. In some cases, the overlapping of nerves can also result in severe back pain.

Types of back pain

There are several types of back pain observed in the patients. However, there are two most common types of back pain. These main types are listed below:

1. Mechanical Pain

Mechanical back pain is the most common type of back pain. It is caused by abnormal stress and strain on the vertebral column. This type of pain causes some of our bad habits like incorrect posture and uncomfortable seating. Usually, this type of pain is felt in the joints, spine, and soft tissues.

2. Radicular Pain

The back pain that travels from the spine to the hips is called radicular back pain. The pain is categorized by stinging, numbness, and weakness of the muscles. There are a few non-surgical options to treat radicular pain.
Pain relievers, muscle relaxers, and anti-inflammatory medicines are used to treat these radicular back pain.

Major Causes of back pain

Every discomfort or pain has a cause. Similarly, there are numerous causes of back pain. Some are listed as under:
Structural Problems

The vertebral column of the human body is made of interlocking bone discs stacking over each other. However, disc injuries can cause back pain in the patient’s body. Sometimes, these discs can rupture and compress the spinal nerves.

Slipped Disc

A slipped disc is caused when the outer spinal disc becomes weak and broken. There can be several reasons. Age is one of the most common causes. However, the other causes include accidents.
The slipped disc can be diagnosed by imaging (CT, MRI, X-rays and discograms).
Deterioration of the joints and spine is caused by arthritis. The condition can lead to the narrowing of the spinal cord.

Other Causes of back pain

  • Patients suffering from kidney stones and infections are more likely to suffer severe back pain.
  • Degenerative spondylolisthesis – The condition in which one vertebrae moves out of place causes back pain.
  • Spinal infections – The fungus and bacteria in the spine causing spinal infections. The bacteria can be tuberculosis, staphylococcus, and E.coli.
  • A benign tumor or cancer in the spine can cause back pain.

Symptoms of lower back pain

There are several symptoms indicating lower back pain. The symptoms can be mild or severe depending on the reason causing back pain. Some symptoms are:

  • Difficulty in standing up or moving is the first symptom of back pain.
  • In some cases, a dull and aching sensation in the lower back also indicates that the patient suffers back pain. Mostly the reason here is an accident or serious back injury.
  • A feeling of pricking and stabbing sensation in the back. Back pain can be chronic when the symptoms pertain for a long time.

Types of lower back pain based on duration

There are three types of back pain based on duration. They are as under:


Acute back pain is normal. It comes suddenly and lasts for a few days. Acute back pain can result from a minor accident or tissue damage.


Subacute back pain is mechanical back pain with a prolonged effect. The pain may last from five weeks to six days. At this point, it is important to consult a doctor and get effective treatment.


The back pain that lasts for more than three months is called chronic back pain. The pain caused as a result of chronic back pain is severe and unbearable at times. However, chronic back pain does not respond to initial treatment. It requires a thorough diagnosis to determine the exact source of pain for treatment.

Why is imaging risky for back pain?

Radiations emitted during imaging can increase cancer risk in the patient’s body. However, the radiation risk in back x-rays is 70 times more than the chest x-rays. Hence, it increases the chances of vertebral carcinoma or spinal infection. In some cases, doctors find back x-ray important. These are the red flags for doing so:

Disadvantages of imaging for back pain

Imaging is not suitable for patients with severe back pain. There are several disadvantages of imaging for back pain. Some of them are:


The back-rays are costly and not quite useful for the patient. So, it is not a great idea to waste money on back-pain x-rays.


The radiation caused by imaging is harmful to back pain. It is a red flag for the patients leading to lethal carcinomas.

Final Words

Back pain can make life quite difficult. However, back pain can be treated by using some medications. However, changing some daily habits can help the patient relieve the pain. For instance, Begin with improving your body posture. It will be difficult initially, but eventually, it will become a habit.

Changing the type of footwear can also be quite effective. Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes as they cause severe back pain.

Daily exercise and stretching are also proven to help ease back pain. It will improve the bloodflow across the spine, reducing the spinal damage risk. Considering yoga also helps in easing back pain.

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