3 Reasons Why Spine Pain Is Difficult To Diagnose

Category: Spine Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: August 28, 2017

Diagnosing Spine Pain

Your spine is a very intricate structure that is subjected to a number of different stressors throughout your lifetime. From daily microtrauma and acute injuries to natural degeneration and the aging process, your spine faces so many different challenges that it’s no wonder that more than 80 percent of the population experiences back pain at some point in their life, and it’s not always easy to diagnose and treat. Today, we explain three common hurdles to the successful diagnosis and treatment of spine pain.

Similar Symptoms

A wide variety of conditions that plague the back have similar symptoms. For example, symptoms like lumbar spine pain, a shooting or tingling sensation, numbness or inhibited gait can describe a whole host of separate spinal conditions, from degenerative disc disease to pinched nerves or tumor development. Diagnostic imaging techniques like MRIs and X-rays can help, but they are limited in just how much information they can provide to the spine specialist. If conservative care isn’t helping your condition, you may benefit from a second opinion, because another specialist may catch something the first doctor missed.

What Works for Some Won’t Work for Others

Even if we are able to pinpoint an exact cause of spine pain, that doesn’t guarantee that one specific treatment method will resolve the problem. What works for one patient may not work for others. That’s because a herniated disc in one person may be affecting their sciatic nerve while in another it’s compressing the spinal cord. Oftentimes it comes down to trial and error and being patient with different forms of treatment to see what works best for each individual person.

Back Pain can be Cyclical

Finally, back pain can be hard to treat because pain can lead to other problems that make it difficult to treat the underlying cause. For example, let’s say you’re diagnosed with chronic lumbar spine pain. Your doctor advises that you try a regular exercise routine and get plenty of sleep. However, that’s easier said than done. Maybe your chronic back pain keeps you up at night, which leads to less productive days at work, longer hours spent at the office catching up on things and not enough time to squeeze in your exercise. How can you treat back pain if pain is preventing treatment from running its course? It’s a difficult question to answer, and one that spine specialists tussle with every day.

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