Low Back Pain Q & A

What is low back pain?

The bones (vertebrae) in your lower back are the largest in your spine. This is because your lower back (lumbar region) supports the weight of your upper body and withstands powerful forces from actions such as lifting, bending, and twisting. Because the low back plays such a central role in the way you move, it’s susceptible to numerous injuries and conditions that cause pain.

Low back pain may range from mild to severe and last a few days to several months. Depending on the underlying cause, low back pain may worsen during certain activities, such as:

  • Sitting for long periods
  • Standing or walking
  • Bending and lifting

Some conditions, such as sciatica, may cause pain to radiate from your lower back down your buttock and leg.

What causes low back pain?

The lumbar spine is composed of muscles, ligaments, nerves, and bones. Damage to any one of these structures can cause low back pain. Common causes of low back pain include:

  • Sciatica
  • Sprains and strains
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated or ruptured discs
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Arthritis

Traumatic injuries such as from a fall, car accident, or playing sports may also cause low back pain. No matter how it occurred, any type of low back pain can make it difficult to perform regular activities.

How is low back pain diagnosed?

First, your provider at Tarpon Interventional Pain & Spine Care carefully examines your back and reviews your symptoms and medical history. They may ask you to perform simple back and leg movements to evaluate your muscle strength and range of motion.

They may also take diagnostic tests, including:

  • X-ray
  • Blood test
  • Bone scan
  • CT scan
  • MRI

Additionally, they may test your nerve functions with a nerve conduction study (NCS) or electromyogram (EMG).

How is low back pain treated?

Once they diagnose the cause of your low back pain, the team at Tarpon Interventional Pain & Spine Care develops a personalized treatment plan. Treatment varies depending on the specific cause and severity of your low back pain, but may include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Wearing a supportive brace
  • Pain-relieving medications
  • Steroid injections

If your back pain persists despite treatment or is due to a structural abnormality, such as spinal stenosis, you may need surgery.

To learn more about treating low back pain, call Tarpon Interventional Pain & Spine Care or schedule an appointment today, 972-596-1059.

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