Back pain is prevalent, especially among the working class. This pain can range from a mild muscle ache to a burning or stabbing sensation. Sometimes, this pain can even radiate down the legs. Without proper treatment, back pain can cause disability, leaving people bedridden.
However, there are several treatment options for back pain, and the best treatment depends on the severity and recurrence of the pain. This article explores the common causes of back pain, the treatment methods, and when to see a doctor.
Symptoms of Back Pain
The intensity of back pain varies for everyone. This pain may be local at a specific spot or generalized and spread all over the back. Some of the symptoms of back pain include;
- Worsening pain when you sit, stand, or rest
- Increasing pain when you bend or lift
- Radiating pain from your back to your legs or hips
- Weakness or numbness in your legs
- Back pain that comes and goes
When Do You Need Medical Attention for Back Pain?
Usually, acute back pain goes away within a few days with at-home treatment. However, if your chronic pain continues for over 12 weeks, you need medical attention. Symptoms of chronic back pain include;
- Tingling and numbness
- A severe recurring pain that doesn’t improve with medication
- Back pain accompanied by difficulty urinating or unintended weight loss
What are the Causes of Back Pain?
Back pain results from strain, posture, inflammatory conditions, mechanical or structural problems, and medical conditions.
Strain and Sprain
Back pain resulting from sprains or strains is often a result of injury to the ligaments supporting the spine. Sprains often occur due to lifting or twisting improperly. Poor posture and lack of regular exercise may also sprain the back.
Poor posture can put extra pressure on your spine and cause your spine to disperse the load incorrectly. Consequently, your back muscles and joints are pushed beyond their limit, causing pain.
Arthritis in the spine can narrow the space around the spinal cord, leading to spinal stenosis. This condition can cause disabling pain that affects your ability to work and carry out your daily activities. Osteoarthritis, a degeneration of the tissues and cartilage in a joint, can also affect the lower back, leading to pain.
Bulging or Ruptured Discs
The spine has vertebrae that are cushioned by discs. These discs have a soft material that may bulge or rupture and add more pressure to a nerve. This then results in back pain. Age, genetics, weight, and lifestyle are risk factors for a ruptured or bulging disc.
Osteoporosis is when the bones become porous and brittle. This condition results in painful breaks of the spine’s vertebrae, leading to pain. Eating disorders, low calcium intake, and age all increase the risk of osteoporosis.
Back Pain Treatment
Usually, acute back pain resolves itself with at-home remedies and rest. But sometimes, getting medical help to resolve your symptoms and prevent a recurrence is essential.
Resting from strenuous activities can reduce back pain. However, lying down for longer than two days can increase your pain. Therefore, after resting, it is essential to move little by little and return to light activities like walking.
Another at-home remedy for back pain is to use over-the-counter pain relief medication. You can also apply an ice pack or a hot compress to the stiff region to ease the pain.
When you visit your doctor for back pain treatment, your doctor will diagnose your symptoms and recommend an appropriate treatment. Medical treatment for back pain includes;
If your back pain does not respond to OTC pain relief, your doctor may prescribe narcotics like codeine or a muscle relaxant to ease your pain.
A cortisone injection can relieve back pain. Your doctor will administer this injection around your spinal cord to reduce inflammation and numb painful areas.
- Physical therapy
Physical therapy is a specialized treatment that involves several techniques, including ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and exercises to ease your pain. In addition, this treatment method improves your mobility and restores your range of motion.
Compared to other treatment methods, Merrick physical therapy is the best for back pain. The treatment gives you access to personalized care, reduces your risk of further injury, and may eliminate the need for surgery.
Surgery is often the last resort for back pain. However, this treatment method is often used for spine-related emergencies. Usually, your doctor may recommend back pain therapy in Merrick before and after surgery to achieve the best results.
How to Prevent Back Pain
Beyond getting treatment for your back pain, preventing it is also essential. Age, lack of exercise, obesity, smoking, and psychological conditions are risk factors for back pain. You can prevent back pain by exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and building muscle strength and flexibility.
Physical Therapy in Merrick, NY
Physical therapy is essential for treating back pain. This treatment method improves your symptoms and prevents a recurrence of the pain. Your physical therapist at Summit physical therapy will recommend a treatment plan that suits you and achieves the best results.