Low back pain physical examination

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Low back pain Microchapters





Differentiating Low back pain from other Diseases

Epidemiology and Demographics

Risk Factors

Natural History, Complications and Prognosis


History and Symptoms

Physical Examination

Laboratory Findings

X Ray




Other Imaging Findings

Other Diagnostic Studies


Conservative Management


Primary Prevention

Cost-Effectiveness of Therapy

Future or Investigational Therapies

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Case #1

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

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Physical Examination

During the physical exam, location of the pain needs to be pinpointed and also to figure out how it affects movement. The patient should be asked to:

  • Sit, stand, and walk. While walking, the patient must be asked to try walking on toes and then heels.
  • Bend forward, backward, and sideways.
  • Lift legs straight up while lying down. If the pain is worse, the patient may have sciatica, especially if he/ she also feels numbness or tingling in one of the legs.

The strength and movement of the leg is assessed by moving the patient's legs into different positions, including bending and straightening knees. To test nerve function, reflexes must be checked. Touching the patient's legs in many locations with a pin, cotton swab, or feather tests sensory nervous system.


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