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What Are Lateral Flexion-extension Radiographs?

Radiographs (such as x-rays) of low back pain are used to assess back pain more fully and determine the cause of pain and discomfort. Usually, your doctor will order an AP (anteroposterior) or lateral view x-ray for low back pain. The AP view will give the doctor a front-to-back picture of your back (where you facing the front of the x-ray machine) and lateral views give a side-to-side view (where you face sideways from the x-ray camera). In many cases, your doctor many order images that show weight-bearing, as this can provide a more accurate representation of your spine and what is causing pain. This means that instead of lying down, which is common practice for x-rays, some images may be taken while standing or while you are flexing and bending. This gives your doctor a way to judge how well your vertebrae are able to move.

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