The cause of the back pain is most often diagnosed through a history and a physical exam. Only 10% of those suffering from acute back pain will require any special diagnostic testing.
In selected cases, clinical tests can help determine the cause and source of back pain. Because most symptoms of acute back pain resolve within four to six weeks, it is important to note that most, if not all, of these tests are not performed unless pain persists for more than four to six weeks.
The type and severity of the back pain will depend on the condition that's causing the pain. However, various causes of back pain may produce similar symptoms.
Low back pain may come on suddenly or gradually.
The most common causes of lower back pain are sprains and strains.
Despite their size and strength, muscles of the lumbar spine can rip or tear. This is called a muscle "strain."
The spine, which connects the skull to the pelvis, is also called the vertebral column. It consists of 24 segments of block-shaped bone called vertebrae and an additional 9 fused vertebrae that make up the lowest part of the spine, the sacrum and tailbone. Each vertebrae of the vertebral column has protruding bony areas for the attachment of muscles that are important for the spine to move. The spinal column protects the spinal cord and its emerging nerves that run down most of the length of the spine.
Back pain is one of the most common physical complaints among adults - and a chief cause of misery for many. At some point in their lives, most people will experience some sort of back discomfort.
Back pain describes pain or discomfort felt in the upper, middle, or lower back. The pain may extend to the hips and legs. The back consists of a complex arrangement of bone, ligaments, joints, muscles, and nerves, and pain can result from a problem with any of these components.
Here are some reliable sources that can provide more information on rotator cuff injury.
The american Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM)
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Phone: 847/823-7186 or
Here are definitions of medical terms related to rotator cuff injury.
Acromion: A portion of the shoulder blade (scapula) that overhangs the rotator cuff and humerus (upper arm bone).
Acromioplasty: An operation in which the surgeon removes bone spurs and other abnormalities and widens the space between the rotator cuff and the acromion, or shoulder blade. Also called impingement surgery or subacromial decompression.
Most individuals recover well and are extremely pleased with the results following rotatar cuff surgery. But complications can occur.
In addition to the risks associated with any major surgical procedure (for example, complications associated with anaesthesia, deep vein thrombosis and infection), there are a number of complications that are unique to rotator cuff surgery. They include:
To read whether one needs or should have surgery for a rotator cuff tear go to Rotator Cuff Tear - Do You Need Surgery?
Surgery for rotator cuff tear is usually performed under general anesthesia, where the patient is asleep. Sometimes a regional (or local) anesthetic is used to block the nerves leading to the arm. In that case, the patient is conscious but cannot feel pain. Usually a sedative is also given, putting the patient in a conscious but dreamy state.
If a rotator cuff tendon has torn completely, it usually will not heal completely without surgery. Whether a doctor actually recommends surgery, however, will depend on several factors, including:
- The extent of the injury
- If the pain has not responded to simple conservative treatments
- The person's age and general health
- How much the symptoms affect overall function of the shoullder
- And most importantly to what extent the persons day to day activities are affected
Usually surgery is recommended in the following circumstances: