Diagnosing Your Back Pain

Learn about what may be causing your back pain and how to find relief.

Feeling a pain in your back? You're not alone. Back pain is one of the most common health issues with eight out of every ten people suffering from the problem at some point in their lives. There are two general categories of back pain: acute and chronic.

Acute back pain
This pain occurs suddenly and lasts for a few days to a few weeks. For example, this could happen if you are lifting a heavy piece of furniture by yourself and feel pain in your back as a result. Acute back pain is usually caused by an incident like moving furniture and is caused by injury to the muscles and ligaments. However, sudden lower back pain could also be caused by:

  • Compression fractures from osteoporosis
  • Muscle spasms
  • Cancer involving the spine
  • Sciatica
  • Herniated disc

Chronic back pain
When back pain continues over months or years, it is labeled at chronic back pain. Sometimes, the source of chronic back pain cannot be determined. But, some identifiable causes include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Fracture
  • Disc injury

Treating back pain depends on the source. For acute back pain caused by muscle or ligament strain or sprain, the prescription would probably include anti-inflammatory drugs or muscle relaxants. Chronic back pain treatment takes a little work on the part of your doctor. Diagnosis may require medical tests, such as x-rays, to determine an underlying cause. Surgery could be recommended in the case of severe disc problems.

Regardless of the cause of your back pain, the staff at the Orthopedic & Spine Institute at Oak Hill Hospital is poised to diagnose your pain and get your on the road to a painless future. If you would like to schedule an appointment or request a physician referral, call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5120 for a physician referral.

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