Back Pain – What Could It Mean and What Should I Do?

March 31st, 2021 Becki Andrus
Spine Pain - What Could It Mean and What Should I Do

One of the most common reasons people visit the doctor is because of back pain. Both acute injuries and low-grade chronic pain make it hard to get through the day. Are you finding that back pain is not only affecting your work but also disrupting other responsibilities in your life?

The good news is that a variety of treatment options are available to address this pain. Not only can an orthopedic specialist assist with immediate treatment, but our team also offers the support you need to prevent future pain.

Back Pain Symptoms

Often, you will notice symptoms in the spinal area specifically. But these symptoms can vary from one patient to the next and might radiate into other parts of the body.

Here are a few of the most common back pain symptoms:

  • Aching
  • Shooting or radiating
  • Stabbing
  • Burning

Notice if the pain radiates into the legs or arms. Also, pay attention to the movements that cause the pain to worsen. For example, the intensity might worsen with twisting, bending, standing, lifting, or walking.

Spinal Structure: Elements Contributing to Back Pain

Back pain can be linked to many various tissues and bones in the spinal area. The back consists of soft tissue and hard tissue, with small changes having a domino effect resulting in chronic or acute pain.

If you are experiencing pain in your back, it could be related to the vertebrae, discs between the vertebrae, nerves, muscles, ligaments, skin, and more. Most of the time, the pain is related to a structural problem:

  • Bulging or Ruptured Discs: The spinal column is cushioned by discs that protect the bones from rubbing together. If these discs are bulging or ruptured, then they can cause back pain because of the added pressure on the nerves.
  • Arthritis: When osteoarthritis develops, it can affect the spinal cord in several ways. One common problem is spinal stenosis – a narrowing of the spinal cord.
  • Infection: If there is a warm, tender area of the spine, then it could potentially be an infection in that area of the back.
  • Cancer: The growth of a tumor can put pressure on a nerve, causing the development of spine pain.
  • Spinal Curvature: Scoliosis is one possible cause of a curve in the spine. If the spine alignment curves to the side, then it can result in back pain.

Sometimes, spinal pain is affected by underlying issues affecting the organs nearby. For example, a kidney infection or kidney stones can cause back pain.

Higher Risk of Back Pain

Even though people of all ages can be affected by back pain, the risk of this problem increases with age. As people get older, the likelihood of developing back pain increases due to degenerative diseases or old injuries.

These are some of the most common risk factors that can lead to back pain:

  • Aging: Patients between 30 and 60 years old have the highest risk of disc-related conditions. If you are over the age of 60, then there is a higher risk of pain caused by osteoarthritis.
  • Lifestyle: Living a sedentary lifestyle increases the likelihood of low back pain. If you don’t exercise regularly, then your risk of severe back pain goes up.
  • Weight: When a person is overweight, it places more pressure on the low back and lower extremity joints. Losing weight can decrease this stress to help with back pain treatment.
  • Genetics: Some doctors suggest that certain spine conditions are related to genetic factors. For example, it’s common for degenerative disc disease to run in families.
  • Job Hazards: Are you regularly lifting, bending, and on your feet all day? Back pain is common in certain occupations, such as nurses and construction workers. Computer-based work can also take a toll on the lower back because you are sitting in the same position for hours each day.
  • Posture: Consider the position of your spine throughout the day. Prolonged poor posture can take a toll, such as hunching over the steering wheel, slouching at the computer, or improper lifting and twisting.

When you visit an orthopedic doctor, the goal is to identify the cause of your pain and identify a potential treatment plan. Additionally, we work to understand the underlying risk factors and issues that could be contributing to the problem. Proactively addressing these problems can help to prevent back pain in the future.

Home Remedies for Back Pain

Minor discomfort and back pain often improve gradually with time. If you notice that your back is sore, then identify the underlying causes that could be affecting the development of this pain. Simple solutions can have a noticeable impact on reducing discomfort and inflammation.

For example, if you notice that your back pain increases after a long day at work, consider the movements that aggravate your pain. Taking a break to stretch can reduce the pressure and have a positive impact on reducing your discomfort.

Other home remedies include:

  • Ice or heat to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation
  • Over the counter pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications
  • Lifestyle changes to reduce the strain and pressure on the spine
  • A regular exercise routine focusing on core strength to support the spine
  • Weight loss if obesity is contributing to back pain

Try these at-home remedies to see if you can reduce the pain. If the discomfort persists, then it might be time to talk to a doctor about treatment options.

Should You See a Doctor about Back Pain?

When is it time to book an appointment due to your back back? If you are experiencing back pain, then don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Orthopedic Associates for an appointment. As with other types of injuries, early intervention can increase the long-term prognosis.

Pay attention to the timeline and severity of your back pain. These are a few indications that you might need to talk to an orthopedic doctor for diagnosis and treatment:

  • Pain persists for more than a few weeks
  • Back pain after a fall, injury, or accident
  • Back pain doesn’t improve with rest
  • Severe pain that limits daily activities
  • Numbness, weakness, or tingling in the legs
  • Radiating back into one or both legs
  • Pain associated with unexplained weight loss

Sometimes, back pain is accompanied by other symptoms that indicate a potentially serious medical problem. If you also have a fever or new bowel/bladder problems, it’s essential to talk to a doctor immediately.

Personalized Diagnosis and Treatment for Back Pain

At Orthopedic Associates, we provide treatment solutions for acute back pain and chronic issues. Our team of specialists is here to help with the personalized treatment plan you need, helping to reduce your pain so you can return to your favorite activities. Call or book an appointment online and learn more.

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