Low Back Pain vs. a Low Back Problem: Is There a Difference?

Your “back pain” might be a misnomer. We often confuse pain for a problem. Doctors often don’t help matters by not doing thorough examinations, and just offering a prescription of pain pills or anti-inflammatory drugs when the patient comes in with a complaint of pain.


          So what is the difference? The pain is part of the problem you are experiencing, but it is not the actual cause-the problem that is producing the pain. If you say you have back pain to a doctor, this should be the starting point for a complete examination to determine its cause. Is it a problem with the disk (a cartilage ligament that separates the vertebrae)? Is the problem more a muscle strain? Do the joints of the spine move in a free and symmetrical pattern?


          Have you been examined this way? Was your spine moved around in different planes? Did the doctor poke and press on different tissues of the spine to see if there was swelling (inflammation) or tenderness? Were x-rays taken to see if there was normal alignment and good posture of your spine?


          All of these tests help to determine the actual nature of the problem. It’s not enough to just call the pain the problem and leave it that. Sadly, this happens to far too many patients who are left thinking that if they just take something to cover up the pain, it makes the problem go away.


          Our clinic is different, we examine to find the cause of your pain, and then provide a treatment plan that can get you back to enjoying your activities with maximum function. If your pain is gone but you still cannot use your back like you used to, then you might want to consider an alternative approach.


          Of course, taking pain pills for long periods of time can also lead to undesired side effects such as stomach bleeding. We are very conditioned in society to accept pills as the source of health and longevity. For many patients they are critical to regaining health, but too often they are used as a panacea, especially when it comes to back pain. You should ask questions about a doctor’s approach to getting you well, and whether this fits with your philosophy and preferences.


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