Inverters and bad backlights can be hard to diagnose without just replacing the parts. If you have a multi-meter that can read in hertz then you can hold the ends up to the inverter board and see if you get a reading. a good inverter will give you a reading of about 25-90 on the multimeter. Apparently inverters are the only things in laptops that use such high frequency currents. If you don't, I'd suggest just buying a replacement inverter and seeing if that fixes it. That will be the cheapest and easiest 1st step. Changing a screen can cost you $85-$150, and changing the backlight isn't for the faint of heart. They are so easy to break.
Unfortunately I don't have a DMM capable of measuring frequency and I don't have access to a scope either.
I know I've asked this question elsewhere and was informed by someone that they felt it was the backlight because in their experience the backlight was the more common failure and they suggested placing pressure on the inverter board. They however failed to inform me what to interpret the results of such a test.
Thanks for the input, I think that is where I'll start then. I don't think replacing the LCD assembly will be too difficult as long as I am careful if it comes down to it.