What Is Back Pain? An In-Depth Look into the Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

01 Jan 2021

Do simple activities become an uphill task because of back pain? Have you tried coming to our walk-in clinic for lower back pain? If not, it is about time you came to our ER in Houston since back pain can be debilitating and reduce your quality of life.

Back pain is one of the leading causes of hospital visits in America, with over 26 million cases being reported each year. Back pain cases are rampant these days since most people spend a lot of time working in front of computer, standing for long hours, and living sedentary lifestyles.

If you brush the pain you are feeling aside and do not seek back pain treatment, you can be opening doors to other severe health complications such as permanent disability.

What Causes Back Pain?

Your back is a complex structure that is comprised of ligaments, muscles, bones, discs, and tendons that work in concert to provide your body with the necessary support. Whenever any part of this complex structure is out of whack, you will be in pain. At times, the cause of back pain may be unclear.

However, some of the prevalent reasons for back pain include:

  • Muscle or Ligament Strain
  • If you lift heavy stuff repeatedly or shift your body too suddenly, you can strain your spinal ligaments and back muscles. You can also experience back pain when you have a muscle spasm, injuries, and muscle tension.

  • Structural Problems
  • Typically, your vertebrae (the bone structure that protects the spinal cord) is made up of interlocking bones that stack on each other; this is what makes up the spine. Then, there are disks that act as cushions or shock absorbers, which are sandwiched between each vertebra.

    Therefore, back pain can arise from ruptured disks, sciatica, bulging discs, and abnormal curvature of the spine.

  • Posture and Movement
  • The long hours that people spend either sitting or standing can also cause back and shoulder issues. This can lead to poor postures, such as a hunched posture when sitting while using computers.

  • Diseases
  • At times, back pain is a result of a health condition or disease. Some of the diseases or health conditions that can cause back pain are:

    • Cancer of the spine
    • Osteoporosis
    • Arthritis
    • Kidney infection
    • Bacterial or fungal infection of the spine
    • Shingles

What Are the Symptoms?

You can experience any of the following:

  • A reduced range of motion and flexibility
  • An inability to stand straight without pain
  • A stabbing pain, which can radiate from the back to the foot
  • Dull pain in your lower back

In most scenarios, the pain may vanish after a few days or weeks, mostly if it was due to misuse or strain. However, if the pain lasts longer than this, then you need to go in for emergency care services.

When Do You Need to Go to an Emergency Room for Back Pain?

There are instances when back pain can be accompanied by other symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Pain on the legs
  • Swelling or pain on the back
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Numbness around the buttocks
  • Numbness around the genitals
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Persistent back pain

How Is Back Pain Treated?

In most cases, back pain gets better over time with proper home care. However, back pain is a complex condition, and people aren’t the same. Others have chronic pain that lasts for months, even years.

Back pain treatment can be:

Medications

Depending on the type and level of back pain you are experiencing, our doctor might recommend:

  • Pain Relievers
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce your back pain.

  • Topical Pain Relievers
  • Topical pain relievers can deliver the needed pain relief through your skin. Some of the topical pain relievers that can be used are creams, patches, or ointments.

  • Muscle Relaxants
  • Muscle relaxants can be used when NSAIDs aren’t giving you the much-needed pain relief. However, muscle relaxants can make you feel sleepy or dizzy.

Surgery and Other Procedures

At times, back pain can be unrelenting and even caused by nerve compression. If this is the case, then surgery may be necessary. Besides surgery, certain procedures that can be performed are:

  • Cortisone injections
  • Implanted nerve stimulators
  • Radiofrequency neurotomy

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can also aid in the healing process to help you regain flexibility, strengthen your abdominal and back muscles. It can also improve your posture.

Back pain can be excruciating and can alter your life completely. You can contact our doctor at Memorial Village ER to schedule an appointment if you need a walk-in clinic for lower back pain.

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