Back Pain: Causes and Diagnosis
Back pain is a pain that originates in the spine, generally between the upper and middle lower back. It is one of the most common conditions that people suffer from. While some are successful at self-treating the problem, others often seek medical attention for back pain.
People may experience different forms of back pain. Acute back pain is short lived but can be severe. Chronic back pain is also severe but it occurs every day and can be deep-rooted giving out feelings of burning and electrifying pain. Then there is radicular pain where the back pain may actually extend to other parts of the body, especially legs (below the knees). This condition is specifically known as lumbar radiculopathy. However, it’s important to note that not all incidents of back pain lead to leg pain.
Other symptoms of back pain may include tingling sensations, stiffness, numbness, and achiness accompanied with weakness. There are also certain activities that may worsen the condition such as sitting, walking, standing or bending over for long periods of time can aggravate the pain. This may vary from patient to patient depending on the symptoms and diagnosis.
Back pain can be caused by a number of factors:
- It can either be injury or trauma-related.
- It can be congenital, degenerative, disease-related, or age-related.
- It can be related with obesity, poor posture, or unhealthy lifestyle.
When the condition worsens where the patient cannot stand upright, experiences fever, loss of control over bladder or bowel, leg pain, etc. it is advised to seek medical attention at the earliest. During the initial diagnosis, the physician will look at the following factors.
- Medical history of the patient
- Inquiry about the onset of the pain including the severity, symptoms, etc.
- Physical examination of the patient to check his/her spine, blood pressure, and other abnormalities.
- Neurological examination of the patient with investigation revolving around function and sensation – particularly the sense of motion, flexibility, and reflex actions.
Once a thorough examination has been carried out, the doctor will devise a diagnosis plan wherein he will lay down the causes of the back pain along with the most accurate treatment plan for the patient. To delve deeper into finding out the exact nature of the condition, the doctor may also advise patients to undergo a few tests such as MRI, CT scan, and/or X-ray. These tests are sometimes considered extremely crucial as they help pave the way for a well-made treatment plan.
If you are suffering from back pain and if it has been persistent, we suggest you visit your physician and get on a treatment plan as soon as possible. Procrastinating in the hope of getting better on your own may not be a feasible solution. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
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