Eight out of 10 people experience back pain, typically between the fourth and sixth decades of life. It is one of the most common health complaints, second only to headache. Although it can affect any area of the spine, it most often occurs in the lower back, or lumbar region.
Back Pain Types
Acute low back pain often relates to soft tissue injury (e.g., sprains of muscles, tendons, or ligaments) or disc herniation. Acute pain occurs suddenly and usually heals within several days to weeks. Its severity relates directly to the extent of tissue injury and resolves over time. It is often called acute mechanical back pain, because the source of the pain may be in the spinal joints, discs, vertebrae, or soft tissues.
Chronic back pain lasts more than three months and its source may be hard to determine. Chronic pain may be present all the time, or worsen with certain activities, poor posture, and improper body mechanics. Other contributing factors may be related to nerve cell changes, tissue scarring, arthritic changes, or psychological effects of chronic pain. In some cases, the complexity of chronic symptoms requires consultation with pain management specialists.
It’s important to understand that the level of pain does not always “match up” with the degree of injury. In other words, muscle spasms in the back can be incapacitating, whereas a herniated disc may only cause a moderate amount of pain. Certain instances warrant medical attention, such as:
- Back pain after injury, such as a fall
- Sudden, unrelenting or disabling back pain
- Pain that travels into the arms and/or legs
- Leg numbness, tingling sensations, weakness
- Buttock and/or genital area numbness and/or tingling
- Back pain accompanied by fever
- Bowel or bladder dysfunction
CAUSES OF BACK PAIN
Over-use injuries such as a sprain/strain, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to the development of back pain. Bone disease (e.g., osteoporosis), metastatic cancer, and degenerative spine disorders can cause back stiffness and pain.
Conditions associated with back pain include:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated disc
- Spinal osteoarthritis (spondylosis)
- Spinal Stenosis
- Vertebral compression fracture
We Got Your Back
FitWell Physiotherapy Back Pain Treatment
The goal of FitWell Physiotherapy is to help you return to full activity as soon as possible and prevent re-injury. Our professional physiotherapists will instruct you on proper lifting and walking techniques, and they’ll work with you to strengthen and stretch your lower back, leg, and stomach muscles. Stretching and strengthening exercises are key elements to your treatment and should become part of your life-long daily routine. Massage, ultrasound, diathermy, heat, and traction may also be recommended for short periods of time.
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