I'm supposed to have a stress test for my heart, but I have a bad back. I'm not sure I can do the test. Are there any other ways to get the same information without a stress test?

Cardiovascular fitness testing can bring on back pain in patients with a previous history of chronic pain. Back pain can alter the test results. You may be okay to take the stress test if you aren't having any episodes of back pain at the time of the test. Be sure to ask your doctor about this problem.

Sometimes a special test is given for patients with heart and musculoskeletal problems. The doctor injects a chemical into your vein that goes to the heart. The chemicals irritate the heart and can simulate a heart attack. The heart is closely monitored. This test must be done by a doctor and is only used for cases like yours.

Talk to your doctor about your concerns before scheduling any further testing. It may be possible to stress your heart without stressing your back while still using a traditional stress test. If not, there are other options.