The cause of back pain and lower back pain can usually be diagnosed with a detailed description of one’s symptoms, a medical history, as well as an evaluation and examination, (and possibly diagnostic testing), will lead to a diagnosis of a general cause (such as back strain), or a specific condition (such as a herniated disc or sciatica). Possible diagnoses for back pain could include but are not limited to: Sciatica, Sprain/ Strain, DDD or Degenerative Disc Disease, DJD or Degenerative Joint Disease, Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, Lumbago, Herniated Disc, Spondylolisthesis, Spondylosis, and Stenosis. At Professional Physical Therapy we are experts in back pain and its diagnoses such as sciatica, and have been for over 26 years!
Chronic Back Pain Symptoms
Symptoms that are usually part of a chronic condition can include:
• Leg pain (sciatica) and possible numbness and tingling. Pain can radiate down the leg to the buttock and/or the foot, and can be worse with sitting or prolonged standing. This type of pain, including sciatica, can be due to a lumbar herniated disc.
• Pain with certain movement and positions (such as bending forward, running, standing, sitting). The pain tends to fluctuate, with little or no pain at times, and then can flare up at other times. This chronic back pain can be caused by degenerative disc disease.
• Lower back pain, often accompanied by leg pain, which worsens when standing or walking for long periods, may be caused by a small stress fracture in the back of the spine called Spondylolisthesis.
• Lower back pain that is worse in the morning and in the evening, and accompanied by stiffness (usually in older adults), may be caused by osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis).
• Pain that is felt down the legs when walking and standing upright and that feels worse with more walking and gets better after sitting down (usually in older adults). This pain may be caused by Spinal Stenosis and/or Spondylolisthesis.
Back Pain Symptoms from a Sprain or Strain
Back sprain or strain symptoms generally include:
• Pain is usually localized in the low back (doesn’t radiate down the leg)
• Pain often starts after lifting something heavy, lifting while twisting, or a sudden movement or fall.
• Pain may include muscle spasms, and tenderness upon touch.
• Pain is less when resting and worse during certain activities.
• Lower Back Pain from a muscle strain usually will get better within one to three days.