In 97% of cases of low back pain, a mechanical issue is the source. This means your spinal joints, vertebrae, soft tissue, or discs are likely to blame. Inflammatory conditions, infections, fractures, and functional pain (from poor posture) are other less likely reasons for pain.
In the vast majority of cases, the problem is easily resolved and doesn’t result in major health issues.
The doctors will want to know if your pain came on suddenly or if it’s something you’ve had before or that you’ve had for a while. You’ll be asked if you experience pain at night or feel morning stiffness.
They’ll also review your sitting and exercise habits, history of any accidents, the severity of your pain, and whether your back pain is interfering with your ability to perform daily activities.
Dr. Santos and Dr. Sharma will check your muscle strength and reflexes. They’ll also look at your posture when standing and sitting and how you walk. It’s important to also look at your range of motion and determine what types of movement aggravate the pain.
The doctors may order an MRI or an X-ray and run blood tests, depending on the suspected cause of your back pain.
Treatment depends on the source of your back pain. Just two to three days of bed rest may be all you need to recover. Longer rest is not recommended as it can worsen your condition and cause stiffness and immobility. In most cases, the doctors will advise you to stay active, but avoid any movement that aggravates your pain.
In the case of a back injury, the application of heat, ice, massage, and ultrasound relieve the most severe symptoms when used within two weeks.
The doctors may recommend you wear a back brace or other spinal support device for a short period of time.
Exercise and weight loss promote a healthier back. If you’re in pain, aerobic exercise may help alleviate it, as will strengthening the muscles that support the spine. The doctors can give you advice as to the types of exercise that are safest and most beneficial.
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