Most Americans suffer with back pain at one time or another. In fact, one-half of all working Americans experience back pain at least once each year, contributing to more than 264 million lost work days each year.
Each person experiences back pain differently, and when your back hurts, you may feel pain anywhere from your lower neck all the way down to your tailbone. Sometimes pain occurs suddenly, which is known as acute back pain. Other times, back pain lingers — what’s known as chronic back pain.
In some cases, you may experience other symptoms, too, such as pain radiating down the backside and legs, swelling or redness in the back, stiffness and difficulty moving, problems sleeping or headache.
Back Pain Diagnosis
If you are experiencing chronic or severe back pain, it may be time to talk with an orthopedic back specialist. To provide you with a diagnosis and back pain treatment plan, the specialist will seek to uncover the underlying cause of your pain.
Back pain has many potential causes, including:
- Disk problems, such as compression or bulging
- Gynecological health issues
- Kidney stones
- Muscle strain
- Spinal alignment problems such as scoliosis
- Structural problems within the back
To determine the cause of your back pain, a physician will review your health records and symptoms, perform a thorough physical exam, talk with you about your lifestyle habits and activities, and order imaging tests such as X-ray or MRI.
Back Pain Treatment
Once a back specialist uncovers the cause of your back pain, he or she will recommend a course of treatment. In many cases, basic at-home care can help alleviate acute or chronic back pain.
Your physician may recommend treatment using the application of heat or cold, over-the-counter or prescription pain medications, injectable medications and exercises thatstrengthen the back muscles. If these conservative treatments prove to be ineffective, surgical treatment may be recommended.
Dealing with persistent or intense back pain? Call 480-558-3744 to schedule an appointment.
Sources: National Institutes of Health, American Chiropractic Association, American Academy of Family Physicians