Back pain affects millions globally and manifests in various forms, from acute pain starting suddenly and lasting up to 6 weeks to chronic pain persisting for longer periods. Understanding its causes and exploring effective treatments can significantly improve quality of life. At FCEScan, we prioritise educating our patients about back pain, ensuring they receive comprehensive care tailored to their specific needs.

Traditional imaging techniques, such as MRI and X-ray, remain essential for identifying internal structural abnormalities like herniated discs, fractures, or severe osteoarthritis. However, their use in assessing subtle movement-related contributors to pain is limited. FCE Scan provides this data, focusing on how the body moves and identifying areas where inefficient patterns may be exacerbating the patient’s pain experience.

  • Muscle or Ligament Strain Repeated heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement may strain back muscles and/or spinal ligaments. The risk of experiencing such strains increases if the muscles are not strong enough, or conditioned enough to perform the movement or task required. This underscores the importance of maintaining muscle strength through regular muscle exercises and movements. Certain activities are often attributed to making back pain worse, like lifting or awkward movements, this emphasises the importance of movement techniques and strength training to prevent exacerbating the condition.

  • Bulging or Ruptured Discs Discs serve as cushions between the vertebrae in your spine. The soft material inside a disc can bulge or rupture, potentially pressing on a nerve. It is possible to have a bulging or ruptured disc without experiencing back pain, as up to 80% of people with no symptoms have disc bulges. Often, disc issues are only discovered by chance during spine X-rays/MRI’s conducted for unrelated reasons.

  • Arthritis Osteoarthritis can impact the lower back or any joint for that matter. Occasionally, this type of arthritis may cause the spaces around the spinal cord to narrow, a condition known as spinal stenosis.

  • Osteoporosis Your spine’s vertebrae can develop painful fractures if your bones become porous and brittle.

  • Spinal Stenosis As we age, the spinal canal, located within the backbone and containing the nerve roots, can narrow, exerting pressure on the spine and nerves. This pressure can result in pain, muscle weakness, and numbness.

  • Lifestyle Risk Factors

Several risk factors contribute to the development of back pain, including:

  • Poor Posture During Daily Activities Maintaining poor posture while sitting, standing, or even sleeping can place undue stress on the spine. Posture is only an issue if you are in the one position for extended periods, this is what we classify poor posture as. Over time, this continuous strain can lead to structural changes in the spine, causing persistent pain and discomfort. It’s crucial to adopt an ergonomic setup and mindfully change positions frequently, especially during prolonged periods of sitting or standing.

  • Not Exercising Regularly Regular physical activity is essential for strengthening the back and abdominal muscles, which support the lumbar spine. Weakness in these muscles can lead to improper alignment and function of the spinal column, increasing the likelihood of pain. Incorporating a routine of moderate exercises that focus on strengthening these core muscles can significantly reduce the risk of back pain.

A woman sitting at a wooden table, using a laptop and looking over her shoulder with back pain. Papers and stationary are scattered on the table. | FCE Scan
  • Smoking Smoking has a harmful effect on overall health and can impacts spinal health. It impairs blood flow, limiting the amount of essential nutrients reaching the spinal tissues and discs. This can weaken the spine, making it more susceptible to injury and slowing the healing process after damage. Quitting smoking is a vital step not only for general health but also as a critical measure in preventing back pain and facilitating spinal recovery.

  • Symptoms of Severe Pain That Require Immediate Attention

If severe back pain comes with any of the following symptoms, it can indicate a serious medical problem that requires immediate attention:

  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Severe pain that does not improve with rest
  • Pain after a fall or an injury
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Muscle weakness in the legs
  • FCEScan’s Role in Diagnosing and Treating Back Pain

At FCE Scan, we understand that effective treatment and pain relief are paramount for those suffering from back pain. We recommend the Full FCE Scan – Formetric Clinical Evaluation (FCE) Scan as a revolutionary diagnostic approach. This non-invasive scan helps in accurately diagnosing the cause of back pain by visualising the spine and pelvis along with assessing its movements without the use of radiation. It provides a clear picture, allowing our experts to tailor interventions more effectively. The importance of staying active through exercise cannot be overstated, as it strengthens muscles and releases endorphins, which are essential for managing pain levels.

Treatment and Management

Managing back pain involves a combination of strategies tailored to the individual’s specific symptoms and medical conditions. Here are some effective methods:

  • Exercise Therapy: Custom exercises can strengthen the back muscles and spinal joints, reducing pain. This type of physical therapy performed by the patient is scientifically proven

  • Lifestyle Modifications: Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and quitting smoking are crucial. Employ ergonomic devices and ensure proper posture when sitting for long periods to prevent further spinal issues.

  • Heat and Cold: Applying a hot water bottle or ice pack to the affected area can ease pain and reduce inflammation.

  • Medications: Anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants can help manage pain and inflammation.

Two pictures of a man doing a squat exercise. | FCE Scan

For those experiencing chronic back pain, particularly when conventional treatments are ineffective, the FCE Scan can guide further treatment options. This may include physical therapy focused on specific areas.


Back pain can dramatically affect your life, making normal activities challenging. At FCE Scan, we commit to supporting our patients through their journey to pain relief and improved mobility. If you suffer from back pain and need a reliable assessment for diagnosis or effective management strategy, consider how an FCE Scan might be the pivotal step toward recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions about Back Pain

The most prevalent causes include joint irritations, muscle or ligament strain, bulging or ruptured discs, arthritis, osteoporosis, and spinal stenosis. These conditions can arise from everyday activities, improper lifting techniques, genetic predisposition, or aging processes.

Preventing back pain involves several lifestyle changes and proactive strategies:

  • Maintain good posture: Always stand, sit, and lift objects with proper form.
  • Exercise regularly: Strengthening your back and abdominal muscles helps support your spine. Regular exercise also maintains a healthy weight, reducing strain on your back.
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle: Avoid smoking and manage your weight through a healthy diet and regular physical activity.
  • Ergonomics: Set up your work and living environments to support your back. Use chairs with proper lumbar support and mattresses that promote spinal alignment.

You should consult a healthcare professional if your back pain:

  • Persists beyond a few weeks
  • Is severe and does not improve with rest
  • Spreads down one or both legs, especially if the pain extends below the knee
  • Causes weakness, numbness, or tingling in one or both legs
  • Is accompanied by unexplained weight loss
  • Occurs with swelling or redness on your back

Yes, in some cases, back pain can indicate serious medical conditions such as cauda equina syndrome, infections, or even cancer. Immediate medical treatment is crucial if back pain is accompanied by neurological impairments, severe abdominal pain, or changes in bowel or bladder control.

The Formetric Clinical Evaluation (FCE) Scan provided by FCE Scan offers a non-invasive, radiation-free method to visualise the spine and surrounding soft tissues. It may help diagnose the specific causes of back pain accurately, allowing for targeted treatment plans.

Absolutely. Physical therapy is a core component of back pain treatment. It involves tailored exercises that not only alleviate pain but also strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, and correct posture. This proactive approach not only relieves current symptoms but also minimises the risk of future injuries.

Lifestyle modifications play a crucial role in both preventing and managing back pain. Simple changes such as improving posture, enhancing diet, quitting smoking, and regularly exercising can have profound effects on spinal health and overall well-being. These changes help alleviate existing back pain and prevent its recurrence.