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Health A-Z

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Harvard Medical School

Diagnosis

Your doctor will want to know what type of activity triggered your muscle pain and whether there was a pop in the muscle at the time of injury. The doctor will ask about your symptoms, especially any decrease in muscle strength or any difficulty moving.

Your doctor will want to know whether you've had recent fever, weight loss, leg numbness, urinary or bladder problems, or other symptoms that may point to a more severe medical problem.

After noting your symptoms and past medical history, your doctor will examine you, checking for muscle tenderness, spasm, weakness and decreased muscle movement. If this exam points to a mild or moderate muscle strain, you may not need any additional testing. However, if the diagnosis is in doubt, X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan may be helpful.

If you have back pain, your doctor may order additional tests to check for a urinary tract infection or a problem involving the vertebrae (backbones), vertebral disks, spinal canal or spinal cord.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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