Your doctor will perform a thorough history and exam. Your doctor may also order an x-ray scan or a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan of the lumbar spine. Sometimes an electrodiagnostic test called electromyography/nerve conduction study is performed to determine which nerve root is affected, or if there is another cause for the leg symptoms.
Physical therapy and an appropriate home-based exercise program is an important part of back pain treatment. A physical therapist may offer treatments such as muscle release, ultrasound, heat or electrical stimulation for your back muscles and soft tissues to reduce pain. As pain improves, the therapist will teach you specific exercises that will stabilize your back and core and improve your posture.
The above exercises can help prevent the back pain from occurring again in the future. Your doctor may also prescribe pain medications for temporary use if over the counter medications are not helping.
If the usual treatments do not relieve your pain, your doctor may recommend an injection of cortisone, an anti-inflammatory medication, under X-ray guidance into the space around a spinal nerve. A corticosteroid injection helps decrease inflammation around the nerve roots and the pain relief may last several months. If you have unrelenting back pain associated with severe leg symptoms, progressive muscle weakness, or other neurological signs, you should see a spine surgeon for evaluation.
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