Back pain affects almost 80 percent of adults at some point in their lives. Many have non-threatening soreness due to a strain or muscle overuse, but others suffer from more chronic back pain. Whether or not your back pain is due to any of these issues, it’s important to have it treated to prevent reoccurrence.
Types of Back Pain
Most back pain is in the lower back. Often it’s the result of weak muscles and supporting muscles. It is caused by lifting something too heavy and not lifting correctly (i.e. by bending the knees, not the back). Other times it’s caused by muscle overuse, such as yardwork or shoveling snow. And in more cases, back pain is the result of a bad night of sleep on a poor mattress or surface.
Other types of common back pain include:
Sciatica. This is caused when the sciatic nerve, which runs from the back down the gluteus and legs, becomes pinched. As a result, you experience pain and sometimes numbness in the lower as well as possibly in the gluteus and one leg.
Bulging disc or slipped disc. This occurs when a disc between your vertebrae slips out of place.
Pinched nerve. This is simply a nerve pressed up against a bone. It can be relieved but a chronic issue.
Arthritis. Arthritis is common among the elderly, caused when bones rub together to create bone spurs. This is due to a lack of shock absorption between the bones from age or overuse.
Cancer. Back pain from cancer is rare and only affects about one percent of back pain sufferers.
How To Treat Back Pain
In most cases, rest, ice or heat, and an over-the-counter pain medication such as Advil can help relieve symptoms of back pain. If the pain persists or is especially bad, you should see a physiatrist or a physical therapist who can figure out what is causing the pain and provide a treatment plan that may include a blend of medication and exercise, massage, or just strengthening exercises.
In fact, lying down is not the best solution for back pain as it can cause stiffness. It’s important to have blood moving through the muscle and the easiest way is to walk about 30 minutes a day. In general, walking has been proven to prevent back pain as it strengthens the supportive muscles surrounding the lower back.
If you’re suffering from back pain, call Point Performance in Bethesda, Maryland at 301-493-8884 for an appointment. Our team of physiatrists and physical therapists will help diagnose your back pain issue and provide a comprehensive, tailored treatment plan specific to your needs.