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tiger7372 said on 29 April 2011

I have read with interest many of the comments here and I sympathise entirely as a long-term back pain sufferer myself. What many of you might perceive as apathy from your GP may not be the case. While they acknowledge and understand your concerns, an onward referral is the best thing for you - back pain is very poorly understood, not because nobody cares but because it is complicated. Typically, referral will be to a physio to begin with. The physios are experts in musculoskeletal physical diagnosis and they will at least provide an idea as to what is happening. You are unlikely to experience immediate pain relief so don't expect it. You may see an orthopaedic surgeon who will provide and MRI or x-ray - imaging is useful but can be misleading - most people (back pain or not) will have some bulging / deterioration. Ortho management might be an injection, surgery if needed or back to physio (knowing that all else is excluded). Then its the pain management team - they are not explicitly trying to rid you of your pain but help you manage with it. Accepting and learning to live with pain is liberating and very important - no longer are you controlled by the pain but, knowing that you are doing no further harm to yourself, you can do thing you want to do (within reason). It might sound glib, but sometimes back pain can be permanent, and constantly searching for the diagnosis and magic treatment can be more detrimental to your life than the pain itself. The pain team will give you your life back if nothing else - they consist of doctors, physios, psychologists. occupational therapists, etc... Just beware of alternative therapies – the information you receive (like you need six-monthly adjustments / manipulations) are usually laced with self-serving intention. Basically, if an alternative treatment works (e.g. acupuncture) the NHS will offer it. Stick to what the experts have to offer.