Your back comprises one of the most complex designs in the human body. Composed of dozens of bones, muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues, your back and spine are subjected to tremendous ‘round-the-clock pressures that can, over time, cause pain, strain, inflammation and injury. With so many structures involved, back pain can be very difficult to diagnose, and ignoring it can result in significant problems in mobility, damaged discs and other serious problems.

The first step in diagnosing back pain lies in determining the underlying cause and the true source of the pain. What makes identifying a specificback pain diagnosis so problematic is that the nerves serving the spine and other structures in the back can be triggered by multiple causes. That means that several causes may have similar symptoms. As a result, in most cases, your doctor will need to complete a detailed exam before determining what is causing your pain. Diagnostic scans like X-rays or MRIs may also be ordered.

Your description of the pain you’re experiencing is another critical part of your diagnosis. When nerves are involved, the pain may be broader than if a ligament is torn or a muscle is bruised, for instance. Nerve injury or irritation can cause pain to radiate into the arms and legs, and it can be dull, sharp, or even tingling. In any case, describing your symptoms carefully helps your doctor gain a clearer understanding of the causes to aid in treatment.

Because your spine and back are so complex, seeing a back and spine specialist is critical. While a family doctor may be a good choice for some injuries and pain, injury or inflammation in the back and spine can progress quickly if not treated correctly. Seeing a doctor who specializes in spine and back issues is the best way to ensure your symptoms are correctly diagnosed and managed ensuring the quickest route to a full recovery.

If you’re experiencing back or neck pain, or pain or numbness that radiates into your arms or legs, don’t ignore those symptoms. Call our office and schedule an evaluation so you can make sure you get the care you need.