Diagnosing Low Back Pain
Diagnosing Low Back Pain. Pain in the lower back is one of the most common reasons for people to call in sick to work or be unable to function as well as they would like in their day to day lives. According to the World Health Organization low back pain accounts for around 149 million lost work days each year, which equates to between 100 and 200 billion dollars a year of losses due to reductions in productivity and lost earnings. It’s such a widespread condition, and yet initial treatment options predominantly consist of rest, massage, taking painkillers and gentle exercise. The situation has been described by doctors writing in the March editions of leading medical journal The Lancet as a “major global challenge”, with a reported 50% increase since 1990 in cases of disability due to back pain.
If you are one of the millions of Americans affected with low back pain, you will know how debilitating and frustrating it can be, especially if you get recurring episodes or the condition becomes chronic. Like many chronic pain problems, sympathy and understanding can be variable, because some people may believe that any discomfort is being exaggerated. Much like headaches, there is no outward sign of how much pain you are feeling, which can compound your misery if you are genuinely suffering. That being said, it is important to find the cause of your pain and get the most appropriate treatment so that you can minimize the effects and the time you lose.
There is no one, simple cause for low back pain, which can make accurate diagnosis tricky at times. The usual causes involve sprains and strains to soft tissues like muscles and ligaments; fractures or compression fractures to bones; pressure on nerve roots due to disc problems or spinal stenosis; and osteoarthritis. Given the range of possible causes, there is a correspondingly wide range of effective treatments, but it is only by getting to the root of the problem that the best treatment can be prescribed. This is where a specialist pain clinic like Piedmont Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, PA can help. As experienced clinicians who are devoted to finding out what is causing your pain, they offer a holistic approach that seeks to treat the source, as well as any aggravating factors that could be delaying your recovery.
Simple strains may heal well given the correct balance of rest, movement and anti-inflammatory medications, but if you aren’t getting relief from your pain, or you seem to recover only to experience the same problem repeatedly, it’s best to seek an expert diagnosis as to what is underlying your symptoms. Piedmont PMR has a range of diagnostic equipment and techniques to get to the bottom of your problem, including ultrasound, electrodiagnostic studies, and musculoskeletal infrared medical thermography. As the lack of a definitive diagnosis can be one of the chief causes of prolonged back pain, it’s worth seeking help from a facility that has the widest and most up to date methods at hand to help you get an accurate assessment.