Understanding Lower Back Ache
Spine Clinic Insights
I am extremely delighted to see you reading through this resource page, My name is Dr Salam, and I am an orthopaedic surgeon in Coimbatore.
I practice at One Care Medical Center. I created this resource page to help you understand back pain.
Most people miss work due to back pain. Back pain and spine related issues is now among the top reasons for loss of wages, work days and is a tremendous economic burden for the healthcare industries
Fortunately, most back pain issues settle down on their own with the right combination of rest and treatments
What are the symptoms of back pain?
The common symptoms of back pain include
- Severe pain when you trying to move around or rotate to either side
- The pain is typically shooting or stabbing by nature
- The pain may also radiate to the legs
- There is limited flexibility and the range of motion is usually limited
In some specific instances, lower back pain may signal something more serious.
You should visit an ortho doctor immediately if the back pain occurred after an injury or fall, or if there is back pain combined with a loss of bowel and bladder control. In these cases a spinal canal stenosis is usually suspected
In some cases, patients may have severe numbness and pain of either one or both legs combined with the back pain.
In these instances the pain could be due to degenerative disk disease, or a herniated disc combined with a nerve root compression
What are the common causes of back pain?
Back pain can be of two types, acute or chronic. Acute back pain lasts usually for less than 6 weeks and subsides on its own. Chronic back pain lasts for more than 3 months.
Given below are some conditions that are linked to back pain
- Muscle or ligament strain – A muscle or ligament strain can result on lifting a heavy weight or from sudden movement. Poor physical fitness and poor health in general can also result in back pain
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis of the spine can also result in back pain. A narrowing of space around the spinal column can result in a condition called spinal stenosis
- Osteoporosis: With increasing age, your bones become brittle. The spinal column is also subject to ageing. Sometimes a compression fracture from a fall/injury can result in severe pain
- Herniated disk: Disk are nothing but soft tissues that act as cushions in between the bones of your spine. Sometimes these disks can degenerate or bulge out, leading to compression of the nerves that come out of your spinal column. This can lead to severe radiating pain or numbness in one or both your legs
Are there any risk factors for back pain?
One of the major risk factors for spine and lower back ache issues are being overweight. Vit D deficiency, increasing age, osteoporosis combined with long-term steroid medications are all other associated risk factors
How to treat back pain?
Unfortunately, there are numerous bogus products in the market that try to capitalize on the lack of patient knowledge as far as spine conditions are concerned. Using these products is actually causes more harm than benefit.
The treatment of back pain first begins with a proper physical exam and trying to understand as to why the back pain began in the first place. Some tests that your orthopedic doctor would order for back pain include
- A simple X-Ray
- CT or MRI : to specifically look at the discs or ligaments
- Blood tests: to rule out any infection
- Nerve studies: to see specifically whether there is nerve root compression from the herniated disk
After a diagnosis is made, treatment of back pain is usually by a combination of
- Simple Medications
- Ice, rest and heat and
- Physical therapy
Surgery for low back ache is only indicated when simple treatments completely fail. Most back pain treatments are fairly straightforward so relax and do not ever worry!
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