Back Pain

Back pain can come on suddenly and sometimes go on its own, bringing temporary relief. It presents as lower, middle, upper, or lower back pain (lumbago). Sometimes the pain can radiate down a leg. Activities such as bending, lifting, standing or walking can make it worse.

Dealing with back pain can be trying, especially if you don’t know the cause of your pain. Although back pain usually improves with home treatment and self-care, you should contact a doctor if your back pain lasts longer than a few weeks.

Back pain symptoms can range from a muscle ache to a shooting pain that sometimes radiates down a leg. It may also cause weakness, numbness, or tingling in one or both legs.

Some of the common causes of back pain include:

  • Bad posture
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Disc degeneration
  • Bulging or ruptured disc
  • Nerve involvement secondary to a slipped disc
  • Traumatic injury

Common diagnostic tests that might help pinpoint the cause of the back pain include:

  • X-ray: These images can only show arthritis or broken bones. Any problem with the spinal cord, muscles, nerves or disks cannot be diagnosed with an x-ray.
  • MRI or CT scans: These imaging tests reveal herniated disks or problems with bones, muscles, tissue, tendons, nerves, ligaments and blood vessels.
  • Blood tests: These can help determine whether an infection or other condition might be causing pain.
  • Electromyography (EMG): This test can confirm pressure on the nerves caused by herniated disks or the narrowing of the spinal canal.

Physical Therapy: Physical therapy for chronic back pain is tailored to your unique symptoms and condition. It may include retraining your posture, stretching and flexibility exercises, core strengthening, etc.

Injection-based Treatments: Nerve blocks and injection-based procedures are effective in treating chronic back pain. These options are used when the source of the pain is known. It helps in reducing pain for a certain period only.

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