Browse Answers

Click here to submit your rheumatology question.

filter by tag
Answers tagged back pain: Page 1 of 1

Lisa from St. Albert asks: My doctor thinks I might have ankylosing spondylitis.  Although I can control the pain most of the time with exercise and mild anti-inflammatories, is there any additional benefit in getting a definitive diagnosis and in seeing a rheumatologist?

For both mechanical and inflammatory back pain, exercise and anti-inflammatories remain first line options for treatment.  A definitive diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis may be helpful for individuals to have access to other treatment options if first line management is not effective.  A rheumatologist may also be able to better monitor you and suggest treatment for other manifestations of ankylosing spondylitis, such bowel, eye, skin involvement.


Faith from Calgary asks: Can osteoarthritis in the back hurt?  Do rheumatologists treat osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis, regardless of its location, certainly can cause pain.  There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but treatment options do exist which revolve around pain control and improved function.  For osteoarthritis of the back, we always need to be careful to ensure it is truly degenerative arthritis causing the pain, as x-rays of the back which show osteoarthritis do not necessarily mean that’s the cause of back pain.  One of the best treatment options for back pain is physiotherapy, with an emphasis on exercises related to strengthening, stretching, range of motion and core abdominal muscles.  While those with back pain need to do these exercises regularly to have benefit, they can improve pain significantly, and can all be done from home without needing regular physiotherapy appointments.

Rheumatologists do see patients at times with osteoarthritis, often for one appointment for a full assessment and provide advice to the patient and the referring physician.


Gary from Alberta asks: I have very frequent lower back pain.  What can I do to stop the pain that ends up as acute muscle spasms and immobilizes me??

Mechanical back pain is a very common problem, affecting most adults at some point in their lives.  Unfortunately, for some, this pain can become chronic and difficult to manage.  Aside from medications, a proper rehabilitation program is essential in the treatment of back pain.  Physiotherapy – where a person learns exercises for range of motion, stretching, and strengthening of back muscles – can have real impact over time.  It is a pro-active approach, hopefully lessening or eliminating flares of pain in the future.  It only works if patients are persistent with it, putting the time in at home on a regular basis with the exercises they were taught by their rehab specialist.

What is Rheumatology?

Rheumatologists see over 100 different types of diseases. We are known for seeing arthritis, however, we also see many other conditions.

Learn More

Find us on YouTube

Visit our YouTube channel and find a number of helpful videos to learn more about a range of topics relating to rheumatology.

Visit our YouTube Channel

Make a Donation

Support arthritis care in Alberta. Click the button below for more info, or to make a donation today.