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Can I lead a normal life with a lower back pain?

Q: Since 15 days I have been having pain in the lower back. I took an x-ray which concludes: Loss of lumbar lordosis, presence of degenerative changes in the form of osteophytes anteriorly and posteriorly. Other observations: Transverse process, spinous process, pedicles and laminae are intact. No lysis or listhesis is seen. No abnormal paravertebral soft tissue shadow is seen. Disc spaces are normal. How can I treat this? Can I live a normal life with this damage? Is this damage reversible?

A:70 to 90% of people have backache some time in their life. This does not mean that they cannot have a normal life. A majority of them settle without any intervention. An X-ray is not the best investigation to diagnose that. The best way to diagnose the cause of back pain is a carefully taken history of the patients illness and a good clinical evaluation. This when combined with an MRI gives a reasonably good picture of the patients problem. However, it is not necessary to get an MRI done in all cases. This decision is made based on clinical assessment. If you happen to be over 35 years your X-ray findings are fairly normal for your age. There is no need to panic. The X-ray changes that are there are not reversible except perhaps, the straightening of spine. Do get yourself examined by a competent orthopaedic surgeon. Not withstanding the X-ray changes you could still lead a normal life.

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