Dr Mustapha Alimi, Chief Medical Director (CMD) National Orthopaedic Hospital (NOH), Igbobi, Lagos, on Thursday advised patients with low back pains to seek adequate treatment at any orthopaedic hospitals without delay.
Alimi, a consultant spine surgeon, gave the advice at the Scientific Conference and Annual General Meeting organised by the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN), Lagos chapter, in Lagos.
The theme of the conference was: “Who Cares for the Carers: Gaps in the Health Reform Strategies.”
He said that people having low back pain should endeavour to get investigated immediately, because many degenerative spine issues could cause low back pain.
“There is a relationship between low back pains; aging and degenerative spines; because aging has consequences in the back such as muscular, and can degenerate into back disc.
“Once a patient has a degenerated spine due to aging, the severity of the patient’s back pain varies from person to person, based on genetic composition and the patient’s lifestyle.
“If it is mild or moderate, where the patients do not have neurology compromise, it can be managed without surgery; but once there is a neurology compromise, then surgery becomes immediate.
“A low back pain is caused by such things as cancer, primary tumors in the spine, or tumours that came from other parts of the body to the spines, which needs surgery immediately,” Alimi said.
He said that the management of some patients that had degenerating spine diseases required surgery.
He said that others that did not require surgery would be on drugs, physiotherapy, counselling and lifestyle modifications.
“But a few that are not degenerated spines can be catastrophic if the patients assumed it is degenerated spine; because we have seen a patient who had spine cancer thinking it was low back pain.
“He visited traditional bone setters for treatment, but they kept on massaging; by the time they came to our hospital the cancer had spread which paralysed the patient,” Alimi said.