Chronic Back Pain

Chronic back pain is an extremely common musculoskeletal disorder. It can range from annoying to debilitating.

What are symptoms of chronic back pain?

Common back pain symptoms to take note of include: sharp, shooting, or radiating pain in the spinal cord, lower back, or down the leg; numbness and tingling in the lower back or any extremities, and tightness or aching sensations in the muscles. In some cases, people experiencing back pain may also lose control of their fine motor skills and coordination. Whether you suffer from acute pain or more chronic pain, describing your back pain symptoms to a doctor can help to diagnose, and then treat and alleviate severe back pain.

What are the causes and risks of chronic back pain?

Causes of chronic back pain may include; pain resulting from injured discs, joints, nerves, muscles, or bones of the spine. Risk factors for back pain are numerous and include genetics, smoking, posture, intense physical activity, and work conditions. Immediate medical attention should be sought if back pain is severe and continuous or associated with progressive leg weakening, severe fever or chills, and/or sudden incontinence, as these may be signs of a more serious disorder.

Diagnosing chronic back pain.

Unless you are totally immobilized from a back injury, an examination will be preformed to examine your range of motion. X-rays are useful in pinpointing broken bones or other skeletal defects. They can sometimes help locate problems in connective tissue. To analyze soft-tissue damage, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans may be needed. X-rays and imaging studies are generally used to confirm your symptoms and the exam results to identify the source of pain. In cases of direct trauma to the back, back pain with fever, or weakness or numbness in the limbs. To determine possible nerve or muscle damage, an electromyogram (EMG) can be useful.

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