Back pain can often be debilitating, but often can be managed depending on the cause. Most commonly, a strain/sprain of the low back muscles and tendons is the cause of acute low back pain and can often be treated with therapy and medications. Core weakness can predispose patients to being more susceptible to low back injuries. The “core” can be thought of as a cylinder consisting of the diaphragm, transversus abdominus, pelvic floor, and low back musculature.
You’re Not Alone
About 60-90% of all people will experience low back pain at some point in their life. It generally resolves within 4-6 weeks, but also tends to recur with over 60% of patients having a relapse within 1 year. Shooting pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs often can be caused by injuries in the spine. The specific location of that pain can help your doctor determine the source of pain.
Where to Start
X-rays are a helpful first step to see the overall structure of the spine, looking for muscle spasms, fractures, and loss of disc space. MRI’s are needed to see the actual disc and nerves to help further diagnose and plan potential procedures. MRI’s aren’t always required since most patients, even with the shooting pains, will resolve on their own with time and therapy. Additionally, in patients over 60 years old, over 90% of asymptomatic patients will have degeneration and disc bulges. So if we go looking for trouble, we often find it, but can’t always say if that is the source of pain.
If you are having low back pain, request an appointment to have your back evaluated by one of our Sports Medicine specialists.
Learn more about Natan Bastoky, DO.