2 June: Q&A with Dr Ganesan Baranidharan

I had an accident some time ago when I slipped at work and hurt my back and had some physiotherapy. This did help a bit but it has never gone away completely. I have changed jobs since and I’m office based and less active and my back seems to have got worse. Is there anything I can do to help minimise the pain as it is starting to affect my life considerably?

Dr Ganesan Baranidharan, Consultant in Anaesthesia and Pain Management:

Back pain can arise due to a variety of reasons. Most of the pain following a fall should settle down with physiotherapy, painkillers and regular exercise. If this persists and you are not able to function at your normal level, you need to seek help.

Approximately 40% of low back pain arises from facet joints, which are small joints in your back between the spine. This pain is made worse by bending back or to the side. It could be diagnosed by blocking the nerve supply to the joint, reducing the pain and discomfort.

Sacroiliac joints are the joints that connect pelvic bones to the spine. Pain arising just on the buttock cheek with radiation to groin might be arising from this joint. This is amenable to injection therapy.

You need an assessment with appropriate diagnostic investigation to try and find the pain generator in the spine. Following this, an appropriate treatment can be initiated.

Alternate therapy such as acupuncture, manipulation and TENS can also be useful in managing low back pain.

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