What is back pain?
Back pain is pain felt in the back that usually originates from muscles, nerves, bones, joints or other structures in the spine. It can be divided into pain in the tailbone, lower back (also called lumbago), upper back and neck. It can be constant or intermittent, stay in one place or radiate to other areas. It may be a dull ache, or a sharp or piercing or burning sensation. It may be radiate into the arm and hand, in the upper back, or in the low back, and could radiate into the leg or foot, and may include symptoms other than pain, such as weakness, numbness or tingling.
Back pain is a common problem
Back pain is one of humanity’s most frequent complaints. In the U.S., acute low back pain is the fifth most common reason for physician visits. About nine out of ten adults experience back pain at some point in their life, and five out of ten working adults have back pain every year.
The complaint of low back pain is among the most common medical problems. To begin on the positive side, patients must understand that most episodes of back pain resolve by themselves, and usually within a few weeks. Unfortunately, back pain can be among the most difficult and frustrating problems for patients and their doctors if the pain becomes chronic.
Understanding the cause of your back pain is the key to proper treatment. Because back pain is sometimes difficult to treat, a better understanding of the causes of this problem will assist patients in their recovery from back pain.
Causes of Back Pain
Lumbar Muscle Strain
Muscle strains are the most common cause of low back pain. Patients may or may not remember the initial event that triggered their muscle spasm, but the good news is that most episodes of back pain from muscle strains resolve completely within a few weeks.
A ruptured intervertebral disc, also called a herniated disc, is another common cause of back pain. How to treat the back pain from a herniated disc depends on the particular individual and situation.
Discogenic Back Pain
Discogenic back pain is thought to be a common cause of low back pain. Discogenic back pain is the result of damage to the intervertabral disc, but without disc herniation. Diagnosis of discogenic back pain may require the use of a discogram.
Spinal stenosis causes back pain in the aging population. As we age, the spinal canal can become constricted, due in part to arthritis and other conditions. If the spinal canal becomes too tight, back pain can be the result.
Lumbar Spine Arthritis
Arthritis most commonly affects joints such as the knees and fingers. However, arthritis can affect any joint in the body, including the small joints of the spine. Arthritis of the spine can cause back pain with movement.
Spondylolisthesis causes back pain because adjacent vertebra become unstable and begin to “slip.” The most common cause of spondylolisthesis is due to degenerative changes causing loss of the normal stabilizing structures of the spinal column. If the spine becomes unstable enough, back pain can become a problem.
Osteoporosis can cause a number of orthopedic problems and generalized discomfort. Back pain from osteoporosis is most commonly related to compression fractures of the vertebra. Osteoporosis causes weak bones and can lead to these fractures.
When do I need to go to my doctor for back pain?
As stated previously, most episodes of back pain last a few days, and have completely resolved within a few weeks. If you have new back pain, you should contact your doctor to see if you need further evaluation. There are also a few warning signs that may indicate a problem that needs immediate medical evaluation:
- Your back pain persists beyond a few days
- Your back pain awakens you at night
- Your have difficulty controlling your bowels or bladder
- You have a fever, chills, sweats, or other signs of infection
- Any other unusual symptoms
Back Pain Treatment
A frustrating aspect in treatment of back pain is that there is no “magic bullet.” Most individuals recover completely by simply avoiding strain to their spine. Patients often find help from ice, heat, and medications. If the basic steps do not alleviate back pain, the next step is to seek medical evaluation. Depending on the symptoms and the length of the problem, your physician can properly organize a treatment schedule.”
For more information about Dr. Cluett’s treatment of back pain, click on the second page of his online article, treatment of low back pain… “
Popularity: 1% [?]