If you’re suffering from any type of back pain, almost every aspect of your life can be limited. Sleeping is reduced, carrying anything can prove nearly impossible and many aspects of a job can become extremely difficult. Because you often can’t get the recovery time you need, suffering can seem to last forever.
Spinal issues, injuries and degenerative problems can all contribute to discomfort in your back. By understanding the cause of your issues, you’ll be able to reduce them going forward through avoidance or treatment. Here are some common reasons many people experience back pain and how the problems are often remedied.
Compression of Spinal Nerves
Injuries, herniated discs and bone spurs can compress or pinch nerves that run through your spine. Once inflamed, these nerves will send signals to your brain that are interpreted as pain, felt either only in the back or in addition to leg or thigh pain. Often, this kind of pain is not acute, in a small area, but can instead be felt across much of the back.
After a thorough examination by a spinal expert, treatment can begin with medication to reduce pain and swelling. If this method doesn’t adequately free nerves from compression, physical therapy may be used to strengthen certain muscle groups, helping to support your back. If all else fails, keep in mind that surgery to remove bone spurs or make room for nerve passages has become a popular and common solution.
Facet Joint Pain
Facet joints control the amount of turning, bending and twisting movements between adjacent vertebrae in the spine. Over time overuse and traumatic injuries can take a toll on your facet joints and the nerves that innervate the joints. This pain is felt only in the back and can be relieved acute with exercise and stretching of the core abdominal and back muscles.
If the pain persists for more that three months after conservative care like physical therapy, interventional pain management and endoscopic spine procedures have excellent results in relieving pain from the facet joints.
Sprains and Strains
Sprains are injuries to ligaments — in this case, those that connect to and support the spine. Strains happen when muscles and tendons suffer an injury. Back pain from strains and sprains often stems from athletic overexertion, improper carrying of heavy loads and car accidents. Due to tearing and swelling, these kinds of injuries are often more intense than other types of back pain and can affect your ability to move around with ease.
Treatment for sprains and strains are often noninvasive, using anti-inflammatory drugs and pain medication. Muscle relaxants are occasionally prescribed, and ice packs are often used. Massage therapy, especially neuromuscular massage, can help reduce pain as well.
Degenerative Disc Disease
As you grow older, the discs that cushion and separate the vertebrae in your spine start to wear out. They lose their dimension and elasticity, shrinking over time and leaving less space for nerves to fit between bone. At some point during the degenerative process, those nerves begin to be restricted or pinched off. Over time, your suffering can increase in duration and intensity.
At its least severe, this disease can often be managed through medication, visits to your chiropractor and massage. Exercise can help stretch and strengthen vital muscles in the back, and a weight loss program can help reduce strain on the back. When this disease is more advanced, there are a number of least invasive surgical procedures such as, regenerative medicine and endoscopic spine procedures that can quickly offer relief from the pain.
If you’re experiencing back problems, contact us online or give us a call at Spine Institute of North America to set up an appointment. Our specialists are experts at diagnosing and effectively treating these issues. Back pain left untreated has the potential to become a permanent problem, so the sooner you treat it, the better.