Sudden Back Pain: Cause for Alarm?
Although a sudden bout of back pain may be upsetting, itís rarely something to worry about. In most cases, the pain will resolve on its own.
You reach for a book on a high shelf, bend down to pick up something from the floor, lift a heavy package of groceries, or twist while playing golf or tennis. Suddenly, you feel pain in your back. Although you donít have any other symptoms, you figure you should have an imaging test "just to be on the safe side." Wrong. According to a study published in the Feb. 1, 2011 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, diagnostic imaging for acute back painóX-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) scanningódoes not improve outcomes and increases possible complications as well as financial costs. "Most of the time, you donít need imaging, particularly if pain is your only symptom," says Santhosh Thomas, MD, medical director at Cleveland Clinicís Center for Spine Health in Westlake and co-director of the Spine Medicine Fellowship.