Back pain is a sharp or dull discomfort in the lower and upper back arising from different causes. With a lifetime prevalence of approximately 40% in adult humans, back pain is a problem that everyone should take seriously. Here, we explain what back pain is, the causes, symptoms, and treatment options, such as consulting a pain management doctor.
Causes of Back Pain
Back pain results from problems in the structures that make up the back, such as the spine, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Damage, whether temporary or permanent, to any of these structures, may result in varying degrees of back pain. An endless list of activities or actions trigger such damage, but straining your back, incorrect posture, twisting, and mechanical blows are common.
Most back injuries are either strain (injuries to muscles), sprains (injuries to ligaments), displacement of discs, or fractures of spinal vertebrae. Other causes are structural problems, diseases such as certain cancers, infections, and nervous conditions and damage.
The severity of back pain correlates with the damage and is often diagnosed by a pain management doctor trained in that area.
How do you tell if you have back pain?
Back pain is easily identified by the physical expression of pain when the part is touched or moved. You can quickly tell when you have pain, but your doctor may look for other symptoms to confirm the cause and state of your back pain. Common symptoms are weight loss, local inflammation or swelling, fever, pain that reaches the lower back, buttocks, and legs, numbness, and fecal and urinary incontinence.
Management and Treatment
Confirmation and diagnosis of back pain typically determine the best course of action for your doctor. Standard treatment methods are massage, topical and ingested drugs, acupuncture, implanted nerve stimulators, and antidepressants. Surgery is also effective but less common and is only used when other options fail or are deemed ineffective.
Ensure to contact a pain management doctor for your back pain. Report all acute, chronic, and recurrent back pain, and inform your doctor of any medical condition, disease, or therapy you have.