One of the most common reasons why people consult an Orthopaedic Specialist In Singapore is back pain. It is estimated that approximately 75% of the population will suffer from back pain. This pain originates between the lower and upper back. The different back pains may be accompanied by symptoms. Acute back pain is severe yet only for a short duration. Chronic back pain occurs daily and is mild, burning, causes aches. Back pain that radiates into other parts of the body is called radicular pain, especially when it radiates below the knee. Some of the other symptoms of back pain are weakness, tingling sensation, stiffness, and numbness. Activities like walking, standing, sitting, and bending may worsen the pain for some patients.
When doctors examine the patient, the will use terms like lumbar, lumbosacral, thoracic, or sacrum based on the source of the pain. The thoracic spine is the upper and middle back, lumbar is the lower back, lumbosacral covers the lower back and sacrum, which is close to the pelvis. There are 17 vertebral bodies, many joints, the sacrum, and the tailbone in the spine. There muscles, fibers supporting the spine, discs between the vertebra, spinal cords, blood veins, arteries, and nerve roots also form the spinal system. Even a back sprain caused due to twisting can cause severe pain if any part of the back is damaged.
Though injury and trauma can cause back pain often, there are other reasons like congenital birth defects, degenerative diseases, or aging problems. In other cases, obesity, poor posture, or unhealthy habits like smoking, may cause back pain. Some times the pain is very severe, though the injury can be treated. Hence patients would like to find out whether they should contact a doctor to get medical attention, treat the back pain themselves, or endure it for some time, hoping that it will heal itself.
If the patient chooses to visit the doctor for his back problem, he will typically review the medical history of the patient, including family members with a similar problem. Osteoporosis and scoliosis are some of the back problems which may be hereditary. The doctor will want to find out what the patient was doing when the pain started, the severity of the pain, type of pain, and how the pain has changed since it started. The doctor will try to gather information about the symptoms and pain so that he can offer suitable treatment. A physical examination to measure blood pressure, heart rate, and other health parameters may be required, though the blood pressure may increase because of pain.
The doctor will then examine the spine, to find out if any areas are tender or feel abnormal. A neurological examination using the pinprick and other tests will check the functioning and sensation for different parts of the body. Flexibility, function, motion range are assessed when the patient walks, bends and moves. The reflexes of the patient will also be checked. Usually, after the examination, the doctor will have usually decided that one or more reasons are causing back pain. Some additional tests like an MRI, CT scan, lab testing, or X-ray may be ordered. Though these additional medical tests are time consuming and expensive, patients should be aware, that it is important to diagnose the cause correctly. Only then will it be possible to treat the back pain properly to alleviate it.