How to Diagnose Back Pain

3D Prosthetic Limb Most people can figure out quite easily what is causing their back pain. Maybe you were lifting heavy boxes recently and now you can feel the strain of it; or maybe your desk chair is making you slouch and your mattress is causing malalignment of the spine. But if back pain persists and there is no obvious reason for it, it might be time to investigate a bit deeper.

When back pain is caused by lifestyle

  • Low muscle tone due to lack of exercise, especially as a person ages. Muscles play a big role in supporting your frame, particularly in strengthening abdominal muscles.
  • Over-strenuous exercise, especially when using heavy weights, can cause muscles to inflame, tear or cause severe pain. This is prevailing if the disks in your spine are already less flexible due to age or genetics.
  • Overweight in relation to your skeletal frame, as too much weight around the mid-section puts strain on the pelvis, causing the lower back to suffer.
  • Bad posture, especially for those working behind desks, can cause havoc to your back, especially if you have poor muscle tone. Your back should always be supported by your chair. Another good practice is to make sure your nose and knees are facing the same direction.
  • As smoking causes blood vessels to thicken, this will result in restricted blood flow, ultimately lengthening the recovery time of a back injury.
  • Bending over when lifting heavy objects is a known cause of back pain. Always bend your knees when picking up anything, especially if your work requires you to do a lot of heavy lifting.
  • The wrong footwear, especially high-heel shoes, can force the body into a slight forward-leaning posture, resulting in back pain.

    Find out more about posture braces and corrective spinal braces for more severe cases of spinal malalignment, as well as other orthotic products that aid in recovering back injuries.

    When back pain is genetic or age related
    Any mild back pain that lasts longer than three months should be a cause for concern. However, severe back pain should not last longer than three weeks.
    If your back pain is not the result of an obvious injury, you might have to consider other possibilities which can often be of hereditary nature, for example:
    -arthritis
    -sciatica
    -osteoporosis
    -osteoarthritis
    -lumbar disk degeneration
    -scoliosis
    -spondylolisthesis

    If any of these illnesses are a genetic possibility, it is best to consult a medical practitioner as soon as possible. Natural degeneration due to ageing could also be a possibility as natural flexibility, muscle elasticity, and bone strength declines. Narrowing of the spinal canal is also age related and can cause discomfort and pain. Exercising to strengthen your muscles will help significantly!

    A few of these back problems can be treated to an extent, but depending on age and severity of the back problem, some patients may need mobility assistance. Find out more about wheelchairs, mobility scooters and wheel walkers in South Africa.

    When back pain is dangerous
    Any spine fracture, rheumatological disease or tumour is dangerous, but rare. If your back pain is severe, accompanied by fever, or causing numbness in your legs, you must consult a medical practitioner urgently.
    Compare medical aid plans in South Africa to see if your medical expenses will be covered if you suffer from one of the problems named above.