How can you tell if the back pain is from tension or the nerve root?

back painBack pain can originate from the nerve roots, such as in "sciatica" or in the herniated disc. Or muscle spasms around the spine, as in the typical chronic back pain due to postural problems, constant wrong sitting and sedentary lifestyle.

Whether the nerve root is involved or not, you can usually already recognize the symptoms. If it is the usual tension-back pain, the pain increases while sitting, lying and standing. They become more bearable as soon as you move.

Pay attention to the subtleties

If the pain in the nerve root, such as an intervertebral disc damage, aggravates movement the symptoms more likely. Even laughing or coughing can increase the pain. Both sitting and lying down are often difficult, but the pain is still less than during exercise. Additional symptoms may include tingling, numbness or paralysis in the legs. In pronounced cases, it may even lead to bladder weakness.

If you suffer from back pain, it makes sense to talk to a doctor anyway, and for ailments that indicate the nerve root, a medical examination is even really important.

Read also:
When can something worse happen behind the back pain?

Author: Dr. med. Jörg Zorn