What is back pain?

As long as the back works, we pay him little attention, until something happens. People start to pay attention to their back health only when symptoms entered the scene. Back pain can be barely, moderately or alternately strongly noticeable to almost unbearable. In fact, it accounts for more than two-thirds of all pain conditions. Discomfort due to individual signs of wear, incorrect posture, hereditary dispositions, weak back and abdominal muscles, or lack of exercise are the main causes. Mental problems may also lead to pain or vice versa.

Back pain? No. 1 disease of the industrialized nations

Half of the population in western industrialized countries report persistent and recurring back pain. About 62% of back pain is located in the lumbar spine (the lower back). Back pain also develops in the area of ​​the cervical and thoracic spine and in the area of ​​the sacroiliac joint (SIJ). Along with heart diseases, constant back pain is the most common cause of disability and early retirement.

Back pain - here are the causes

We divide them into two groups: nonspecific and specific back pain. With the nonspecific back pain no clear cause is recognizable. Specific back pain, of course, has a clearly identifiable cause. The causes range is considerable, and it requires all medical skills. In fact, back pain cannot be related just to muscle tensions, but also to spinal column wear (arthrosis), herniated discs, disc degeneration, spinal canal stenosis, instability, osteoporosis or spondylolisthesis. Possible causes include shingles (Herpes Zoster), acute prostatitis, kidney disease, inflammation of the pleura, esophagitis or even pneumonia.

These are the symptoms of back pain

Back pain is itself a symptom that could have one or more causes. It is often accompanied by other symptoms such as tension, cramps and restricted mobility. Sometimes pain radiates into the arm, chest or leg accompanied by tingling, numbness, weakness, muscle atrophy, sleep disorders, irritability, depressive moods, bladder emptying disorders and – though rare – sexual disorders.

Diagnosis - sometimes an MRI scan is required

Make a wish: We all wish that after a brief discussion, the doctor would know what causes our complaints and that he/she - Hey presto! - can quickly rid us of our problems. In fact, it is often like that … but unfortunately not always.

The first consultation with the doctor includes questions such as: Where does the back pain occur? Does the pain radiate to other parts of the body - in the flanks or in one leg? How long does the current pain episode last? What factors trigger, amplify or alleviate the pain? What influence does heat, cold, movements have on the pain? Are your daily activities limited because of pain? And if so, to what extent? What is your pain behavior - are you moving differently or less to avoid pain? Do you have problems, stress, and conflicts in the workplace, are there conflicts in the marriage, and are you prone to depression? Based on the answers, the doctor gets a picture of you ... and he builds up a first impression!

As part of a physical examination, the doctor usually uses certain movement tests, checks the strength, sensitivity, muscle tone and muscle reflexes!

An MRI scan will reveal if osteoarthritis, degeneration, spondylolisthesis, osteoporosis, spinal stenosis and/or cyst are present. Other examinations are sometimes necessary.

There are as many types of treatment as there are different types of back pain

As varied as back pain is, so are treatment options. Only after determining the cause of your complaints, we start with a targeted individual treatment. Early diagnosis and therapy, interdisciplinary work, application of several methods, care after treatment and the development of future prophylactic programs are important components of our spinal therapy.

Conservative therapies include back training, physiotherapy, osteopathy, acupuncture, analgesics, infiltrations/injections, getting a back-friendly workplace and others. Ultimately, there is no panacea for back pain, in fact we take our time in order to develop a tailored therapy for each patient. This requires also their active participation.

If conservative treatment does not help, then we study other options such as thermal denervation in vertebral joints arthrosis, minimally invasive therapy in a smaller herniated or bulging (protrusion), microsurgery at a larger herniated disc, vertebral cementing (kyphoplasty) in osteoporotic vertebral fractures, stabilization in case of instability and others.

Dr. med. Munther Sabarini

Author
Dr. med. Munther Sabarini
Specialist in Neurosurgery

Hans-Heinrich Reichelt

Co-author
Hans-Heinrich Reichelt
Chief Editor of Medizin für Menschen

The Avicenna Clinic in Berlin is always willing to help you

Since the year 2001, the Avicenna Clinic is based in Berlin. Our doctors have at least 25 years of international experience in their respective fields (neurosurgery, spinal surgery, anesthesia, and orthopedics).

If you have severe back pain, a herniated disc or a suspected herniation, please contact us using the following information:

Avicenna Clinic
Paulsborner Str. 2
10709 Berlin

Telephone: +49 30 236 08 30
Fax: +49 30 236 08 33 11
E-Mail: info@avicenna-klinik.de

You can call anytime, write an e-mail or fill out a callback form. Each patient then gets an appointment with a doctor of our clinic, who is a spine specialist (neurosurgeon). Based on MRI images (brought or made in our clinic) and on an in-depth examination, the doctor will discuss with you all the different therapy options or possibly surgery. You can also use our specialists only to obtain a (second) opinion.

If you decide to undertake your therapy and/or surgery in Berlin, we would want to make your stay as pleasant as possible. In our clinic, you are at the center of our attention! You can expect state-of-the-art equipment in all areas - from the operating room to the patient bedroom.

The latest, gentle, minimally invasive treatment procedures are the focus of our clinic. Together we try to find a suitable treatment for your complaints. The actual therapy takes place only after a detailed discussion with the patient, examinations and the diagnostics.

For us, as important as medical care, it is the commitment we take to guarantee our patients a high level of personal care that can, in turn, ensure them a comfortable stay.

During the period of inpatient stay our team of nurses will take care of you 24 hours a day. They also offer services in several foreign languages, including English, Russian, Polish, Turkish, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Bulgarian and French. We care not only about your safety but also your needs, respecting traditions and religions.

Our team is made up of a group of highly qualified specialists who work together to guarantee you a quick recovery.