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See a WellStar physician right away if your back pain is severe, flares up after a fall or injury or your symptoms also include:

  • Fever or unexplained weight loss
  • Pain or numbness in legs
  • Pain and difficulty urinating
  • Weakness in one or both legs

"An estimated 46 million adults in the United States some form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis – the most common form of arthritis affecting more than 27 million adults – is the most common type of neck and back arthritis."

*Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Neck & Back Arthritis Diagnosis

Neck and back arthritis pain varies greatly from person to person. The pain of neck and back arthritis may be the result of irritation caused by bone-on-bone rubbing of two or more vertebrae, or bone spurs created by such chronic irritation.

The first step in diagnosing neck and back pain is establishing a medical history. Your WellStar physician will ask a series of questions that might include:

  • Are your symptoms worse after activity or rest?
  • Are there certain activities that make them worse – or better?
  • How long have you been experiencing neck or back symptoms?
  • Do any of your family members have arthritis or other back problems?
  • Are you experiencing symptoms in any joints besides the neck or back?
  • Do you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk?

Your WellStar physician will do a physical examination to determine causes of pain and may ask you to move and bend to see if a certain position or activity is painful. The patient might undergo X-rays or other imaging procedures such as a CT scan (computerized tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to see how much joint damage has been done.

The doctor may also order lab tests if your symptoms and physical examination suggest rheumatoid arthritis or other causes of joint inflammation.

Diagnostic Procedures

  • X-ray
  • CT scan (computerized tomography)
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)