Case study at Signature Health Clinic

Low back pain

This is a case study about D, a man in his 50’s who was experiencing low back pain following lifting a go-kart from his car boot. Here’s how we helped.

Early intervention

D, a man in his early 50s, suffered with low back pain following taking a go-kart out of his boot. This sounded like typical mechanical back pain, such as irritation of the articulations between the vertebrae, or disc injury, following a combination of movements that the body does not like. Out of vigilance, however, we watched out for loss of sensation in the pelvis and down the legs, which could be a sign of cauda equina (when the “horse tail” made out of nerves that ends the spinal cord, is damaged. This is a medical emergency). Progress was not as expected. D was pleased that, after a couple of treatments, the pain was gone and he had increased range of movement in the lower back.

However, we were concerned about the lack of sensation reported down his legs and strongly recommended a private MRI of the lumbar spine, to rule out cauda equina, as this condition can bring on paralysis of the legs. Initial results suggested a tumour on the lumbar spine as a possible cause of cauda equina symptoms. This led to D being swiftly taken in charge by the NHS during lockdown. Early interventions can help, and these were made possible through hands-on assessment, monitoring of red flags and prompt investigations. This was a very challenging time for the NHS to spot such emergencies in what could otherwise pass for mundane back pain.