Muscles are the number one cause of back pain, so your doctor should take a thorough history of your pain and perform a physical examination—before scheduling an MRI, says Dr. Norman Marcus in End Back Pain Forever: A Groundbreaking Approach to Eliminate Your Suffering.
Thoughtful back pain treatment should incorporate examining and treating muscles, the number one cause of back pain. In finding help, you will or already have discovered that many physicians do not think of muscles as the cause of your back pain. International, national, and local pain societies frequently ignore muscle pain in their publications and at their annual meetings.
Are you asked to get an MRI before the consultation? Overreliance on tests may make it difficult to find the real source of your back pain. Many of my patients have told me that very little time was spent on the physical examination before they saw me. Sometimes they were not even asked to undress. Despite indicating where they had pain and without a specific examination of the muscles in the painful area, they were told that the back pain was actually coming from another place, usually the spine.
You want to see someone who examines you where you hurt. Tests should be suggested only after having taken a thorough history of your pain and performing a physical examination, which includes testing muscle tenderness, strength, and flexibility.