Tests for Lower Right Back Pain

Medical History Evaluation  and Physical Examination

After discussing your current lower right back pain symptoms and medical history, your doctor will examine you. Typically you will be lying facedown on your stomach and the doctor will be  pushing on different areas of your back to see what hurts. Your doctor will likely have you bend forward, backward, and side to side to test your range of motion and or what increases your pain level.

The doctor will also measure the nerve function and strength in your legs. This typically includes checking your reflexes at your knees and ankles, and having you push against his resistance at various positions.

Imaging Tests

The tests the doctor can use to confirm your diagnosis include:

  • X-rays. This is used to get visual images of the bones. This will help determine if there are broken bones, skeletal abnormalities, or deformities. X-rays are not great at picking up skeletal disk issues but they can be seen to some degree. Muscles and nerves will not be visible by the X-ray.
  • Computerized axial tomography (CAT) scans A CAT scan is a machine used to take Third-dimensional X-rays. A CAT scan is typically used to view bone structures or issues with the head.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) This machine uses magnets and radio waves to create a detailed images of all body matter including, bones, spinal discs, tendons, muscles, and nerves. An MRI will show conclusively is someone is suffering form a herniated disk. One great advantage of MRI is its ability to change the imaging plane without moving the patient.

Bone scan A bone scan is a nuclear imaging test that is used to evaluate a patient’s bone pain and can diagnose rare problem like cancer or a bone infection. A bone scan can find issues weeks or even months before they would become evident by a typical X-ray. This scan measures a  bone’s re-growth or metabolism which other imaging techniques cannot do.

Bone density test A bone density test uses X-rays to test for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bone and makes them more susceptible to break. Osteoporosis often causes spinal fractures which can lead to lower right back pain.