Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options for Back and Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons Americans visit their doctors, and it’s the world’s leading cause of disability. One in 10 people will experience lower back pain in their lifetime.
Sometimes, the cause of back pain is clear. It’s associated with an accident, a strain when lifting something heavy, or a sports injury. But for many people, the cause of back pain and its associated symptoms isn’t so clear.
Fortunately, pain specialists have made many advances in providing back pain relief, and one of those lower back pain treatment options could be right for you.
Common Back Pain Symptoms
At first glance, the symptoms of back pain seem obvious. Your back hurts: plain and simple. Yet back pain is often accompanied by other symptoms. With some back disorders, back pain is minimal or even nonexistent.
- Sore back muscles
If you’ve strained your back by lifting something heavy or twisting it into an extreme position, the muscles of your back might feel tight and painful.
- Limited motion
Many people feel significant discomfort when they try to bend, twist, lift, or perform even non-strenuous activities.
- Shooting pains
Many people feel shooting pains, in their backs and radiating through their buttocks, legs, and even feet. Upper back pain is less common, but it can cause similar stabbing pains in the shoulders and arms.
- Tingling and numbness
Some people, especially those with a pinched nerve, experience tingling sensations or numbness in their legs and feet.
If you’ve injured your back because of a fall or you’ve experienced a heavy blow to your back, schedule an appointment to see a Heilman Center experienced Pain Specialist for a back pain evaluation as soon as possible.
If you have problems controlling your bladder or bowels following a back injury or after experiencing back pain, go to the nearest emergency room. These symptoms indicate potentially serious problems, and need immediate attention.
Causes of Back Pain
Most injuries and muscle strains are minor and clear up within a few weeks. But if pain continues for more than a month, it may be a sign there’s another cause of your lower back pain. Other, more serious conditions can cause back pain. These disorders need to be evaluated and treated by an experienced back pain specialist:
- Slipped or herniated disc
Your spinal discs consist of a tough, rubbery outer membrane and a jelly-like interior. If something ruptures the membrane, the jelly-like interior can leak or become displaced. The displaced discs can put pressure on spinal nerves.
- Degenerative disc disease
Your spine experiences a lot of wear and tear, and it’s natural for the spinal discs to become more brittle as you age. Most people don’t experience symptoms associated with these changes, but some experience significant back pain.
- Osteoarthritis and Spinal Stenosis
The joints in your spinal column may become inflamed, particularly as you age. Left untreated, osteoarthritis can progress into spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column.
Aging can cause a significant loss of bone density, particularly for women. As bones become more brittle, the spinal vertebrae may develop tiny fractures. Vertebrae start to collapse, putting pressure on the spinal discs and nerves.
Our Back Pain Treatment Options
Most episodes of back pain don’t require surgery, and symptoms often disappear within a few days or weeks. If your symptoms persist, you have multiple options for lower back pain relief.
Treatment starts with a visit with one of our experienced pain specialists, who will listen to your symptoms, take a medical history, and perform diagnostic procedures as needed.
When supervised by a certified pain specialist, a limited-time medication regimen can bring temporary relief from back pain symptoms while you recover.
Exercises to strengthen your back and core muscles will help you get stronger and improve your range of motion.
Before exploring surgery, our Pain Specialists will often see whether treatments like injections, electrical stimulation, or other modern pain procedures will bring back pain relief.
Advances in surgical back pain treatment allow many patients to have outpatient micro surgery without general anesthesia or lengthy hospital stays. Our minimally invasive procedures can deliver positive results with speedier recovery. One example is Vertiflex Superion®, a treatment for spinal stenosis that starts providing pain relief in as little as one week.
Talk to Our Pain Specialist
Back pain is a common and treatable condition, but it’s important to work with a pain specialist, who can develop your personalized treatment plan. Start experiencing back pain relief now.
Schedule an appointment at the Heilman Center for Pain and Spine Care by calling 734-585-7203 or filling out our contact form.