This is done when you have recurrent episodes of low back pain which may be due to spinal instability. Unstable vertebrae can cause pain by placing excessive wear and tear on the spine joints (facets) or disc, and can irritate or pinch the spinal nerves leading to nerve pain or sciatica. When focusing on the lower spine, an X-ray can help detect abnormalities, injuries, or diseases of the bones in that specific area. Lumbar spine flexion X-ray can show whether you have arthritis or broken bones in your back, but it can’t show other problems with your muscles, nerves, or disks.
No specific pre-preparation is required for this X-Ray. Before the X-ray, you will be required to remove all jewelry including body jewelry such as rings, dentures, hair clips, or other objects that might show up on an X-ray. Make sure to inform your doctor if you have any metal implants from prior surgeries. Then you will be asked to change into a hospital gown to prevent any buttons or zippers on your clothes from affecting the quality of the X-ray images. You will receive a form requesting your consent to perform the test. Ask your doctor any questions you have before you sign the form.
This X-Ray test will help your doctor understand the cause of chronic back pain or view the effects of injuries, disease, or infection. Lumbar spine X-ray also helps in diagnosing birth defects that affect the spine, injury or fractures to the lower spine, low back pain that's severe or lasts for more than four to eight weeks, arthritis affecting the joints, osteoporosis, abnormal curvature or degenerative changes in your lumbar spine, Cancer. It can be used to view an injury from a fall or accident. It can also be used to monitor the progression of a disease or to determine if a treatment you’re having is working.
You will be asked to lie down on a table, facing up. A technician will move a large camera connected to a steel arm over your lower back. A film inside the table below you will capture the X-ray images of your spine as the camera moves overhead.
The technician may ask you to change positions during the test, including on your back, side, stomach, or even standing depending on what views your doctor has asked for. While the images are taken, you will be asked to hold your breath and remain still.