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Testing for Cause of Back Pain

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How patients are treated for back pain is a signal about how well HMOs and their doctors see that patients get care that is proven to work.

For most people with low back pain there is no clear cause for the problem. And, the back pain stops within a short time. Routine imaging, like an x-ray, MRI or CT scan, is not recommended for these patients. The results aren’t useful in caring for the patient and the tests are expensive.

About 2 of every 3 adults have back pain during their lives. It is one of the most common reasons that people seek care from their doctor or at the emergency room. Leading HMOs and their doctors see that these patients get the right care for a problem that affects so many people.

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What Was Measured?

Why Is It Important?

HMOs that have a high rating do not send you for costly and uncomfortable tests unless your back pain does not improve within 3-4 weeks. For most people, low back pain gets better without medical treatment in a few weeks.