5 Reasons the Root Cause of Back Pain Is Hard to Diagnose

5 Reasons the Root Cause of Back Pain Is Hard to Diagnose

5 Reasons the Root Cause of Back Pain Is Hard to Diagnose

Back pain. It is something we are all familiar with to one degree or another. When back pain is severe, it can interrupt daily life. In fact, this is why so many people experiencing back pain in the Weatherford area come to see us at Lone Star Pain Medicine.

While we have multiple therapies for treating back pain, the fact remains that the root cause of such pain is often hard to diagnose. Even we pain medicine doctors are sometimes left with no other choice but to try different things to see what works. Our big advantage is that we can offer therapies patients cannot get in a GP’s office.

Getting back to the root causes of back pain, there are five reasons a diagnosis might be hard to come by:

1. Pinpointing the Source Is Difficult

The vertebrae and spinal cord are complex structures. The thing with back pain is that it can originate from any one of dozens of bones, discs, muscles, ligaments, and nerves. So while it may be easy for a patient to describe the exact location in which they are feeling pain, it is not so easy to figure out the specific source.

Complicating matters is the fact that back pain often radiates. For example, sciatic nerve pain originates in the lower back but is felt through the thigh and down into the leg. As such, radiating pain can be deceptive.

2. Limited Diagnostic Testing

Diagnostic testing can do a pretty good job of identifying bone fractures. That’s not the way it is with back pain. Tests have limits. So much so that there isn’t a single test we can rely on to uncover the root cause of a person’s back pain. Results from MRIs and X-rays don’t always correlate with structural abnormalities. In addition, diagnostic tests can produce false results.

3. Contributing Factors Play a Role

In many cases of back pain, there are contributing factors not subject to diagnostic testing. For example, a sedentary lifestyle can exacerbate what would normally be considered minor back pain. Likewise for poor posture, being overweight, and being subject to high levels of stress.

If contributing factors are significant, they could enhance a person’s pain experience enough to give the false impression of its root cause. And yet there is no way for us to measure how impactful such contributing factors are. We need to rely heavily on patient reports.

4. Psychological Factors Also Play a Role

A person’s psychological health can influence the pain experience. For example, people diagnosed with clinical depression or anxiety are more likely to complain of pain. This is not to say that all such pain is experienced in the back, but it can be. The psychological factors associated with pain lead directly to the fifth and final point.

5. Pain Is Subjective

Pain is subjective in nature. In other words, both pain perception and the pain experience itself are subject to significant variation between patients. Two patients with the exact same condition may express pain differently. They are likely to have different pain thresholds. Due to pain’s subjective nature, getting to the root cause can be challenging.

If you are experiencing persistent back pain, do not take anything you have read in this post to mean that you cannot be treated. Lone Star Pain Medicine offers a variety of therapies we can apply to your situation. Although we may not be able to definitively prove the root cause of your pain, the chances are pretty good that we can find a way to relieve it.

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