If you suffer from lower back pain-and nearly 31 million Americans will at some point in their lives-think twice about consenting to imaging scans. They may do you more harm than good. Most lower back pain is caused by a strain on bones, muscles, and ligaments. When treated with over-the-counter painkillers, the pain usually will go away within a few days or weeks. However, many doctors order imaging scans-X-rays, CT, or MRI scans-at the first sign of back pain.