ZocdocAnswersWhat is wrong with my lower back?

Question

What is wrong with my lower back?

Hi, i am 20 years old and i am enlisting into the army soon. I have been suffering from a lower back pain for several years. I slipped and fell on my buttocks and back when i was younger and this pain has continued ever since. I visited TCM clinics but it did not help much. The pain occurs when i am sitting down, lying down, standing, bending or carrying heavy stuffs. Getting up seated position also cause pain. I am also suffering from chondromalacia patella(left leg) and flat feet. I have a specialist appointment after 2 weeks of my enlistment for my lower back, it includes consultation and x-ray scans. I am afraid that this pain will get worse during my National Service. I have researched a bit about this and came upon the Straight Leg Raise. I tried doing it and i felt pain in my lower back when i lift my left leg but no pain shooting down from the butt. I need your professional opinion on what i might be suffering from. Thank you for patiently reading this.

Answer

You should see a doctor for a comprehensive physical examination. I would recommend not waiting until you enlist to get this done, because if you are suffering from severe and constant back pain for unknown reasons, this will almost certainly get worse when you have to go through basic training. Worse yet, you could potentially do serious harm to yourself if you are too physically active with all of this pain. A good idea would be to see your primary care doctor (or a back specialist, if you have access to one) prior to enlistment. They will be able to perform a thorough examination and help you figure out what might be going on. In addition to a problem in your back itself (such as a pinched nerve or slipped disc), it is also possible that your back pain is related to your other problems (flat feet, chondromalacia). This is because, sometimes, problems in the feet or legs can lead to gait or posture abnormalities that can put excess strain on the back muscles, leading to spasm or pain. Therefore, your doctor will want to consider all of these symptoms you have to help figure out what to do next.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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