BACK pain is a common complaint. Four out of five people in India will experience low back pain at least once during their lifetime. It's one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work. On the brighter side, one can prevent most back pains by using correct posture during sitting and bending forward. If prevention fails, simple out-patient treatment and proper body mechanics will often heal back pain within a few weeks and keep it functional for the long time. When back pain does not subside, surgery is rarely needed to treat back pain. Chronic back pain usually lasts more than three weeks and may be mild or severe. Amongst the common causes for back pain may be facet joint arthritis (spondylitis) or herniated intervertebral disc (slipped disc).
Causes may be :
Bulging Or herniated (slipped disc)
Sciatica - Herniated disc pressing over the nerve root going to your leg causing sharp shooting pain in the back & leg.
Arthritis - It can lead to narrowing of the space around the spinal cord or nerve root called spinal canal stenosis. This can cause back & leg pain.
Structural irregularity - Your spine may have abnormal curvature either side to side or excessive curve in front/ back.
Osteoporosis can cause vertebra fracture & can cause back pain. Common in old age.
Infections including tuberculosis, septic osteomyelitis etc.
Rare causes include Cancer, cauda-equina syndrome.
Other causes like Kidney stones& Pelvic inflammatory disease.
Contact your doctor immediately when you have constant unrelieved pain, pain going in legs especially below knee, causing weakness and numbness, or loss of bowel / bladder control, following fall or trauma, fever associated with unexpected weight loss.
Commonly done tests are X-rays, MRI, Nerve conduction studies, Bone scan and blood tests.
Treatment includes rest, precautions to be taken during sitting and bending, medication for 10 days, weight control, physical therapies including back muscle strengthening exercise for the first 4 weeks. Injections for back pain like epidural steroid injections, facet joint or its nerve block, discectomy surgery using small incisions.
Surgery for back pain is the last resort therapy and can be avoided in majority of patients with interventional pain procedures. Surgery is to be done immediately in patients with loss of function like urinary disturbance, stool disturbance and foot drop.
- Dr Rajkumar . K M.S. (Ortho); MCh (Ortho) U.K.
Trauma,Spine and Jointreplacement Surgeon.
Mobile No : 9246153632