If you have lower back pain, you’re not alone–about 80 percent of adults suffer from it at some point in their lives.1 It is the top reason for missed work days. In most cases, lower back pain resolves on its own within a few weeks. But 1 out of 5 people with lower back pain need medical treatment to find relief. If you’re located in southeast Michigan or northwest Ohio, The Heilman Center may be able to help.
Symptoms and Causes of Lower Back Pain
Injuries and the natural aging process are the most common causes of lower back pain. An accident, an awkward twist, or lifting a heavy object can trigger pain. An inactive lifestyle and/or the normal wear and tear of the joints, discs, and bones of the spine also contribute to painful conditions.
Aging is tough on the spine. By age 50, 95% of people have signs of spinal degeneration.2 The rubbery discs that provide space and cushion between the bones of the spine begin to dry out leading to deterioration of the vulnerable spine. The most common conditions include:
- Herniated discs that bulge outward or rupture causing lower back pain when nerves become compressed or inflamed
- Arthritis starts to form in the back when less disc volume transfers weight to the joints of the spine. The joints develop arthritis in response to the added pressure.
- Spinal stenosis occurs when bone spurs from arthritic joints narrow the spinal canal, the tunnel the nerves run through. Nerves can become pinched and inflamed in the narrow canal causing pain in the lower back pain or pain, numbness or weakness in the legs (sciatica).
Diagnosing Lower Back Pain
The cause of chronic lower back pain can be difficult to determine. A pain specialist with advanced training in the complex interaction of the bones, discs, and nerves of the spine is the best doctor to see to find out what is triggering pain, and treat it at the source.
An experienced pain specialist uses more than just diagnostic tests to pinpoint the cause of pain. A patient’s pain history provides valuable insights. Expect a pain specialist to ask you about the onset, location, duration, and severity of your pain. Limitations in movement, previous pain episodes, and other health conditions provide important clues. A patient’s pain history is typically followed by a physical exam, along with neurologic and/or imaging tests to get a full understanding of the cause of the lower back pain.
Treatments for Lower Back Pain
Thankfully, there are many treatments for lower back pain. And for the millions of people who prefer pill-free pain relief, an Interventional Pain Specialist can provide a range of options. You don’t have to suffer in pain. The cause, severity and length of symptoms will impact treatment recommendations.