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What shall I do to get rid of back ache?

Q: I am a 42 years old female suffering from back ache, difficulty in walking and numb, tired legs for the last 15 days. For pain, I am using a lumbar belt and hot water bag. The X-ray report of the lower back reveals no problem except degeneration in the spinal region. Though my blood pressure is 170/100 mm/Hg, my family doctor has not started the medicines for the same. He has asked me not to climb stairs and to get eight hour sleep everyday. What further care should I take?

A:The combination of backache with difficulty in walking and a feeling of weakness in the leg usually suggest some pressure on the nerves in the back or narrowing of the canal through which nerves pass in the spine. This can be diagnosed only if an MRI is done. Clinical examination can also help diagnosis but the confirmation needs an MRI.

  • Do you have numbness and tingling in your legs on walking?
  • Do you need to stop after walking sometimes because of heaviness in the legs?
  • Do you stoop after walking for sometime?
  • If yes, all these are symptoms of narrowing of the canal of spine. At your age (you are only 42 years old) regular use of a lumbar belt is not good. It only restricts muscle function and over a period of time you become dependant on it. Hot fomentation for occasional severe pain may be tried but this is also not recommended regularly. I would recommend that first the cause of your symptoms must be diagnosed correctly before restrictions are imposed on you. As far as I can see there is no restriction on climbing on stairs or walking. Your doctor is right in not starting treatment for BP based on one reading. He is also right in getting all the tests done before starting treatment. You could follow his advice based on the reports of investigations.

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