3 Most Common Misdiagnosed Causes of Back and Spine Pain

When you decide to see a spine doctor for your back pain, you have clear expectations: you want a professional to identify the cause of your pain and develop an effective treatment plan. However, in many cases, chronic back pain is misdiagnosed, leaving many patients at a loss for finding long-term relief. There are a variety of factors that can cause a wrong diagnosis, such as a doctor spending too little time with their patient or ordering the wrong tests and therefore, missing out on important information. Additionally, there are far more back conditions than there are symptoms, meaning a variety of conditions can present similar symptoms, making finding the correct culprit challenging. If you are struggling with chronic back pain, it’s essential to receive a proper diagnosis from a highly skilled spine specialist.  Here’s a look at three of the most common misdiagnosed causes of back and spine pain.

Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Pain

Commonly misdiagnosed, SI joint malfunction is responsible for 15-30% of back pain cases. The SI joint connects the hip bones to the sacrum and is responsible for absorbing shock between the upper body and legs. The SI joint can become inflamed both from hypermobility (too much movement) and hypomobility (too little movement). Dysfunction in the SI joint can often cause pain in the back and legs that are difficult to differentiate from the radiating leg pain caused by a herniated disc in the lumbar. Therefore, it is common for a patient to receive a diagnosis for a herniated lumbar disc when really the SI joint is the culprit.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Back pain is one of the most common symptoms of degenerative disc disease, a condition that causes the discs in the back to dehydrate and deteriorate. With time, this damage can become more severe as it can cause the walls of the discs to tear or weaken, causing significant back pain. Other common symptoms of degenerative disc disease include tingling or numbness in your extremities. Since degenerative disc disease is a relatively misunderstood condition, it is common for individuals with the disease to receive an improper diagnosis.

Herniated Lumbar Disc

Between each vertebra in the spine or flat, round discs that have gelatin-like centers. These discs act as cushions for the vertebrae. Sometimes, these discs become herniated, meaning their gelatin-like center starts to protrude outside of the spinal joints. While one of the major symptoms of herniated discs is lower back pain, sometimes they don’t cause pain at all. This means that if an imaging test reveals a herniated disc, the patient’s pain could still be coming from another source. Therefore, it is common for individuals to be diagnosed with herniated lumbar discs when their pain is really originating from somewhere else.

Consult the Trusted Spine Surgeons at OLSS for an Expert Diagnosis

Experiencing chronic back pain can be an extremely frustrating, emotional experience. Specifically, being misdiagnosed can lengthen your recovery time and add to the stress of your injury. Receiving a proper diagnosis is essential for effective treatment. If you are struggling with back pain and suspect you have not yet had a proper diagnosis, you should consult with one of the skilled spine experts at OLSS.

When you schedule an appointment at your local Orthopedic and Laser Spine Surgery branch, you will receive an expert medical diagnosis. At all of our facilities, you’ll find highly skilled board-certified surgeons who are trained in cutting-edge medical procedures for neck and back treatment. We pride ourselves on our ability to orchestrate personalized care plans that serve the unique needs of our patients.

To schedule an appointment with one of our skilled spine experts, call (855) 853-6542 or fill out our online contact form.