Treatment for back pain is devised in accordance with the severity of pain and discomfort and a patient’s individual history and symptoms. A thorough and complex diagnosis and examination process is performed, which is briefly outlined on this page.
Diagnosing Back Pain
Reviewing a patient’s history of symptoms is the first step in diagnosing the causes of back pain. We will consult the patient’s medical history to determine whether any past injuries or treatment may have contributed to the onset of the pain.
A complete review of the patient is carried out to determine any associated symptoms, these may include depressive symptoms and headaches which can be common signs of multifactorial mechanical spine pain. Other signs include numbness and tingling, weakness in the legs and unintentional weight loss.
The examination will focus on the location, intensity, duration and radiation of the pain. The back is examined at rest and in motion and palpation is used to detect tenderness and to understand what aggravates and relieves the pain. Further tests may be needed which can include X-rays, CAT scans, ultrasound and MRI scans.
Treatment for Back Pain
Back pain can often be treated and resolved with conservative treatment, including rest, heat or cold treatment, avoiding re-injury and other forms of non-intrusive gradual rehabilitation.
In cases where there is an acute and sudden onset of back pain due to a trauma, such as in a road accident or fall, the first step will usually be the use of a stabilising and ice treatment for the first 72 hours.
Analgesic medication, local injections of cortisone, topical anaesthetic creams, topical pain-relief patches and muscle relaxants can be helpful to relieve the pain.
A variety of surgical procedures such as injection therapy and radiofrequency, as well as alternative treatments such as acupuncture, can be used for more advanced diagnoses.
Physical therapy will often be included in the treatment plan, especially when the pain has persisted beyond 1-2 weeks. Side stretches, chin tucks and turning exercises under the guidance of a physiotherapist can be very helpful. Further physical therapy for the long term treatment of back pain may include ultrasound, medical massage and the professional manipulation of the back’s muscle groups.