Chronic Back Pain
Lower back pain is one of the most common conditions that drive patients to a doctor’s office. Don’t worry, you are not alone! Common treatment choices include prescription pain medications , NSAIDS, muscle relaxants, physical therapy and cortisone injections. While many cases can be linked to an injury, accident or muscle strain — others involve more “structural” issues including herniated discs, bulging discs, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease and facet syndrome.
Low back symptoms can range from a mild ache to completely debilitating pain. Ironically, the severity of the pain does not always correlate with the amount of physical damage to the bones, discs, ligaments and soft tissues. In fact, a simple strain can cause excruciating lower back pain that makes it difficult to walk or even stand. In contrast, a herniated disc or completely degenerated disc is sometimes painless.
Low Back Pain Risk Factors
The most, common ways you can hurt your back are lifting heavy items, trauma, repetitive motions, poor posture and engaging in a new activity:
- Repetitive motions. Repetitive motions during your daily routine can stress your back over time. Recreation activities like golf, baseball, rowing and running can produce chronic muscle strains. At work, having a poor ergonomic set-up can also strain your back gradually. Repetitive stress can cause muscles to tighten, spasm or tear. Pain can come on gradually or suddenly if put under intense stress suddenly.
- Heavy lifting. The most common back strains occur when lifting a heavy item and twisting your spine at the same time. When lifting items from the ground, make sure you bend your knees and lift with your leg muscles instead of your back muscles. Once fully standing, turn your body and avoid twisting your upper body at the same time. Even when you are reaching for something overhead, you are still exposing yourself to back sprain or strain. Do your best to keep items close to your body.
- Sudden trauma or injury. A slip and fall, car accident or sports trauma can jar your low back. Sports such as rugby, soccer, lacrosse, football and other impact sports put high amounts of pressure on joints and muscles. Any sudden impact can contribute to low back injury. Plus, injuries have a cumulative effect on your spine
- Poor posture. Slouching over days, months and years puts extra strain on your low back muscles and spine. Poor posture is also often linked to weak abdominal muscles, spinal muscles and hamstrings. Increasing muscle strength indirectly improves your posture.
- Engaging in a new activity. Starting a new workout routine can lead to muscle strains. Make sure to ease into new activities to help you avoid doing too much too soon.
How We Help Low Back Pain
It’s common to treat back pain with painkillers. While this may be an easy back pain remedy, do your research first. Before you take prescription pharmaceutical pain medications (including opioids) or reach for over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, it’s important to understand the dangers they pose. This is especially important if taken for long periods of time or in the wrong dose, as they come with a whole host of side effects that can be dangerous. Most patients we meet verbalize that they don’t want to rely on daily medications, either over-the-counter or prescription based. Patients appreciate that medications provide temporary relief, but ultimately want a long-lasting solution for their chronic back pain. That’s where we come in.
The information we gain from your consultation and exam helps us determine if you are a candidate for care in our office. Rather than simply treating the symptoms, our experts provide a long-term strategy to not only get the relief that you seek right away, but also prevent future spinal decay.
If you have had radiographs or MRIs taken before, please bring them with you to your appointment for our doctors to review. We see many patients that have failed other treatments such as prescription medications, physical therapy, and even surgery.
Call 619-313-5403 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
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