Most people will experience back pain during their lifetime. Some patients fear the worst, especially when pain is acute or severe. The most common cause of back pain is sprain or strain, although pain can be so intense and severe that the cause may be attributed to a vertebral fracture , disc disorder , or tumor .
Sprains and strains often result from excessive physical demands on the back . Lifting something too heavy, a sudden fall, car crash, or sports injury can cause soft tissues (ligaments, muscles, tendons) to stretch too much.
It is important for your Houston back pain specialist to find out the cause of the pain so that it can be treated. This is done by taking a history from the patient and finding out when the pain began, where the pain travels to, what the nature of the pain is (shooting, stabbing, burning) and what makes the pain better or worse. The neurosurgeon then performs a physical examination and confirms with detailed MRI or CT scans of the spine, as well as x-rays. It is only after the diagnosis of the cause of pain that treatment can begin to relieve the pain.
Although back pain is does not typically cause permanent disability, it is a significant contributor to physician visits and missed work days in the United States, and is the single leading cause of disability worldwide.   The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons report approximately 12 million visits to doctor's offices each year are due to back pain.  Missed work and disability related to low back pain costs over $50 billion each year in the United States.  In the United Kingdom in 1998, approximately £ billion per year was spent on expenses related to disability from back pain.