Imaging in mechanical back pain: Anything new?

Bjarke Brandt Hansen, Philip Hansen, John A. Carrino, Gilles Fournier, Zoreh Rasti, Mikael Boesen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Low back pain is common and relates to a variety of overlapping pathologies. Within the last few decades, almost every medical imaging modality has been applied in the evaluation of low back pain. Imaging of the spine has a high priority in the assessment of patients with low back pain, who seem to expect such procedures to be undertaken. However, the majority of conventional imaging techniques do not have adequate precision to identify the primary source of pain. Not only can this be frustrating to both clinicians and patients, but importantly, inadequate correlation between imaging findings and symptoms hampers the ability of clinicians to devise a specific treatment plan for the patient. Therefore, there is mounting interest in new imaging techniques of the lumbar spine that may increase the clinical correlation in low back pain. In this review, we will discuss the value and limitations of various lumbar spine imaging techniques with focus on new emerging technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)766-785
Number of pages20
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Rheumatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Computed tomography
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Diagnostic
  • Imaging
  • Low back pain
  • Lumbar spine
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Radiography
  • Weight-bearing MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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