Because different types of back pain are treated in different ways, your doctor will want to know when your pain started, how severe it is and how it affects your daily life.
Your doctor will need to know how and when your pain first started, so think about this before your first appointment:
Pain is hard to describe because it happens in so many different ways. From a burn, to a pinch, to a strain – pinpointing your back pain isn’t that easy. But it’s important that you describe your pain as best as you can, so don’t pretend that your pain is better or worse than it actually is. Do your best to be clear and accurate with your descriptions.
Before you go to your doctor, think about how you might answer the following questions:
Living with back pain can also cause problems with day-to-day life. It’s important that your doctor understands how your pain is affecting you, your ability to work or carry out daily tasks, and also how it affects your family life. They may ask you the following questions:
Your doctor will ask to examine your back and its surrounding areas to find out what’s causing the most pain. They may also order tests, such as imaging tests and/or blood tests.
Past health problems may be important, so expect your doctor to ask you about your medical history. Just try to answer as best as you can, as this can help your doctor diagnose your condition.
During your consultation, your doctor may ask you if you:
Your doctor is also able to refer you to a wide range of other medical specialists. Each of these is an expert in a specific area and can work with you to diagnose and better manage your condition over time.
The table below explains who these different specialists are, and what they do. If you have any other questions, then be sure to ask your doctor.
There are different types of back pain and it's important to find out which type of pain you have as early as possible, so it can be managed appropriately. If you have had back pain for more than 3 months, you should complete our short Symptom Checker to help you and your doctor understand if your back pain is more likely to be inflammatory.