Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:
- Where is the pain in your back?
- Does it radiate to your legs?
- Is it worse when you walk?
- Does the pain from walking occur suddenly or gradually?
- Is it relieved by standing?
- Is it relieved by sitting or lying down?
- What bothers you more, the pain in your back or the pain in your legs?
- Does the pain worsen when you cough or sneeze?
- Do you have numbness or decreased sensation in your legs?
- Have you had problems with your balance?
- Have you had any changes or difficulty in your ability to urinate?
- How long have you had the pain?
- Is it getting worse?
- How much does it limit your usual activities?
- How is your quality of life affected by the pain?
- Have you ever had spinal surgery?
- Have you ever injured your back?
- Have you ever had hip surgery?
- Do you have diabetes?
- Do you have poor circulation, such as peripheral artery disease?
- Do you have foot ulcers?
- Have you ever had vascular surgery?
- Do you have any sort of neuropathy (nerve damage)?
- What are you doing to treat the pain?
- Have you seen a physical therapist?
- Are you interested in an injection of a cortisone-like medication into your back? Do you know anything about this procedure?
Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:
- Pulses in the feet, behind the knee and in the groin
- Neurologic exam
Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:
- X-rays of the spine
- CT scans of the spine
- MRI scans of the spine
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.