Back pain

Back pain, usually in the lower (lumbar) area, is one of the most common medical problems, affecting around 80 per cent of people at some point in their lives. However, in most cases, symptoms disappear within a few weeks if you stay mobile and take anti-inflammatory painkillers, if advised by your doctor.

Causes

Back pain can be caused by poor posture, over-stretching (sprain) of a muscle or ligament, twisting, or incorrect lifting. In more serious cases, back pain can be caused by other conditions including a ligament tear or slipped disc; osteoarthritis; osteoporosis; spinal stenosis; scoliosis; or an infection.

Symptoms

These vary from person to person. Sometimes pain begins suddenly, as a result of injury; at other times it may develop more slowly. Your back may be painful all the time or the pain may come and go as you bend or lift. While in most cases symptoms will gradually improve, in some cases back pain can be a sign of a serious underlying condition; this is more likely if the pain doesn’t go away when you are resting. You should see a doctor straight away if, along with back pain, you also experience fever, lose weight without any reason, or have other symptoms.

Diagnosis

Having discussed the type of pain you are experiencing and examined your back, X-rays, ultrasound, MRI and/or bone scans can be used to back up a diagnosis.

Treatment

Non-operative treatment: this usually involves taking anti-inflammatory medicine if advised by your doctor, along with a gentle programme of exercises and, in some cases, ongoing physiotherapy. You may also be offered spinal injections or radiofrequency treatment to help relieve pain and inflammation.

Surgery: Fortius Clinic offers a wide range of surgical treatments depending on the underlying cause of the pain. These include: discectomy, laminotomy, lumbar decompression and spinal fusion.

Important: This information is only a guideline to help you understand your treatment and what to expect. Everyone is different and your rehabilitation may be quicker or slower than other people’s. Please contact us for advice if you’re worried about any aspect of your health or recovery.