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Low Back Pain: Diagnosis

Although findings, such as discogenic disease or arthritis, are commonly found on MRI, a specific cause of chronic pain (that is, a specific abnormality that explains the pain) is usually not found. Indeed, serious problems occur in only 2% to 3% of patients with chronic low back pain (and even less commonly in patients below 50 years of age) (Noble, 2001).

The management of chronic low back pain begins with a comprehensive assessment. This includes a thorough medical history (including a history of life style and psychosocial factors) and a physical examination. Diagnostic testing may be needed depending on the tests that were performed in the past and the specific findings on the history and examination.



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