Acute low back pain can have many different causes and more often than not stumps most medical providers who are not well equiped to evaluate and dignose complex musculoskeletal problems.
During the evaluation of the low back it is of utmost importance that the provider determine several key issues.
Determine the oneset and severity of the pain
Determine the location of the pain and it’s characteristic (dull, sharp, broad, diffuse)
Determine what causes the symptoms to be exacerbated and relieved (if any)
Does a particular position of the body provide relief?
Can the pain be localized by the patient or by where the doctor touches?
Are there obvious signs of internal organ sources of back pain?
What timing of associated symptoms are there (such as vomiting, constipation, diarrhea)?
These and many other important questions need to be answered along the way to an appropriate diagnosis involving the back. During this evaluation, it is important to remember that somatic (body) pain is often sharp and localized with reflex response to evaluation causing retreat by the patient. Visceral (organ) pain is usually due to an existing process such as inflammation or infection.