Lumbago: A Funny Name for a Serious Condition

Lumbago is often appropriate as an initial diagnosis, but rarely as a final one.

Lumbago may sound like the kind of diagnosis that your great-grandfather’s doctor would make, but is still one of the most commonly used diagnoses to describe a patient with back pain, because that’s exactly what it means, chronic back pain and it embraces everything from functional back pain to failed back syndrome. As such there is nothing per se wrong with it. In fact, at Schlesinger Pain Centers it is often the first diagnosis applied to a patient with back pain, because if the history and physical examination are inconclusive, it may be impossible to make a more specific diagnosis. The important thing to remember is that while lumbago may be acceptable as an initial diagnosis it should never be the final one, because without clear understanding of the underlying disease process that a more accurate and specific diagnosis implies, it is extremely unlikely that therapy will be effective.

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