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How to manage recurrent back pain?

Q: I used to be a very healthy person about 4-5 years ago and used to play badminton a lot with out any problem. About 5 years ago, I got some back pain which I thought may be due to excess playing, so I stopped playing. But 6-7 months after that I started getting a bit of numbness in my left foot while walking more than 20-30 minutes. That problem reduced considerably after a year or so. About two years ago, I started playing badminton but after 2-3 days of playing I started getting burning sensation in my left leg (more on skin near knee), so much that I was unable to sit in office. I consulted a local doctor who gave few vitamin B tabs, Optineuron tab and some balm. The problem got OK but it re-surfaces (in lesser magnitude) whenever there is a bit of physical activity I do. The back pain is not much. I have gained weight as I cannot do any exercises or sport activity. A local doctor also suggested that I take a thyroid test. Is it related to my problem? Also if I sleep on my back for more than 15 minutes, in my left thigh front skin, I feel a little numbness. I don't want any surgery. Can you suggest something? Will physiotherapy help? Should I go for MRI scan of my back?

A:This pain is most likely due to a slipped disc. No MRI is needed at present as the pain should settle down over a period of time. You need to lose weight, exercise regularly, maintain a correct posture, avoid carrying weights, avoid activities which increase the pain or stress the back. If it still gets worse you may then consider an MRI and possible surgery. However in the majority surgery is not required.

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