The Southeastern Spine Institute

Before you undergo a slew of tests and examinations for back pain in Charleston, you may be able to limit the amount of probing your spinal doctor needs to do if you can present him with specific symptoms. If your neck or spine specialist knows where your pain is located, when your discomfort first started and what kinds of activities seem to aggravate your pain, it can point the back doctor to the cause of your pain.

Upper Back Pain

Pain located in your upper back often involves your neck and the seven cervical vertebrae at the top of your spine. People who work at computers all day often complain of upper back pain caused by irritation to the large shoulder muscles. Upper back pain rarely points to a herniated disc or a degenerative disc disease. Instead, simple lifestyle changes, physical therapy and mild medication can reduce or eliminate your pain. Trauma from an injury could be another source of upper back pain. Let your back doctor know immediately if you’ve suffered an injury.

Middle Back Pain

If your pain occurs at the chest level, it affects the thoracic area of your spine. Discomfort in this area often is related to other health issues, such as heart or lung problems that place pressure on the middle part of your back. Athletes, people with arthritis and people in physically demanding jobs often suffer from injuries to the middle back. Tell your Charleston back doctor when the pain first started, how strong it gets and when it hurts the most. Also let him know if you have any other health issues, such as heart or lung problems, kidney stones or a history of aneurysms.

Lower Back Pain

If your pain emanates from your lower back, but you can’t pinpoint the exact location, it can be difficult to diagnose. Several organs could be causing the discomfort, or it could be from your lumbar or sacrum spinal regions. The pain could be from damaged soft tissues such as tendons, muscles and ligaments or from bones, discs or nerves. Tests such as an MRI or digital X-ray provide your back doctor with clues, but he’ll need a detailed medical history and a succinct description of the pain to complete his diagnosis.

When you can tell your spinal doctor exactly where it hurts, when it started and how it really feels, he will have a head start in finding the cause of your pain even before he runs any tests.