Low back pain (LBP), is one of the most frequent problems treated by spine physicians. Four out of five adults will experience LBP during their life. There are 24 vertebrae in three segments of your spinal column. The cervical spine has 7 vertebrae, the thoracic spine has 12 vertebrae and the lumbar spine is made up of five vertebrae.
The spinal column is held in alignment by ligaments, cartilage and muscles that surround and protect the spinal cord. Between each vertebra are spongy discs which act as cushioning pads to absorb pressure and allow spine movement.
The orthopedic evaluation generally consists of four components: the medical history, the physical examination, diagnostic testing, treatment discussion (which may include surgery). During the medical history, the physician gathers information about your past medical history and any particular mechanism of injury which may have caused your injury. He then examines you to determine strength, alignment and motion of your back.
Next, diagnostic tests like x-rays, an MRI or a CAT scan may be ordered. The MRI and CAT scan will be helpful in determining whether a herniated or protruding disc is present and whether it is impinging on the spinal cord. If it is, surgery may be in order.
Lower back pain can be caused by a number of factors which include:
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