Back pain treatments are diverse and include:
- Physical therapy
- Self-care (ice, heat, stretching, exercise, strain avoidance, low-fat diet, anti-inflammatory drugs, proper posture)
Speak with a lower back pain doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Chronic pain
- Muscle ache
- Changes in mobility
- Shooting or stabbing pain
- Pain that moves down a leg
- Pain from walking, lifting, bending, or standing
Diagnostic tests for back pain include:
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- Bone scan
- Nerve study (Electromyography)
- Blood tests
Common forms of back pain can be categorized by two main types:
Mechanical Back Pain
Mechanical back pain describes pain caused from unnatural muscle stress and strain of the spine, and it is usually felt in the spinal joints, discs, or related soft tissue. It usually results from bad posture, unnatural seating positions, and improper lifting methods. It can occur at any age, it’s not necessarily a constant pain, and it can often improve in one or two months. With mechanical back pain, rest and relaxation are typically helpful while exercise will aggravate the symptoms.
Inflammatory Back Pain
Unlike mechanical, inflammatory back pain symptoms are usually relieved with exercise. It is characterized by stiffness and a change in mobility, and the symptoms are typically worse in the morning and evening. Inflammatory back pain is more common among younger people, and often lasts more than three months. Because symptoms are worse during periods of inactivity, sleeping patterns are often disrupted.
Causes & contributing factors for back pain may include:
- Improper spinal joint movement
- Intervertebral disc damage
- Ligament strain.
- Mechanical issues
- Nerve roots compression
- Obesity related injuries
- Overuse (working out, lifting heavy objects, sitting or lying down for extended periods)
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Sports related injuries
- Sudden movement
- Torn or pulled muscles and ligaments
- Most people in the US (up to 80%) will experience back pain at some point in their lives, often proceeding to see a back pain specialist.
- People who suffer from chronic back pain often go undiagnosed, and aren’t able to pinpoint the cause.
- Back pain is a common reason why people visit the doctor or miss work.
- Surgery usually isn’t necessary for back pain management.
- Back pain often occurs without an identifiable cause.