Chronic Back Pain

Back pain is a wide-spread problem affecting four out of five American adults sometime during their lives and is one of the most common reasons for healthcare visits and missed work. Symptoms can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp, crippling pain. It can be the result of trauma – a sudden accident, cough/sneeze, sports injury, fall, or lifting something too heavy or improperly – or it can develop slowly, almost imperceptibly as with age-related changes to the spine. Pain may accompany simple movement; jarring movement, such as coughing or sneezing; or with no provocation at all. You may also experience pain, numbness or tingling in your legs often referred to as sciatica. Whatever the cause, when there is recurring or lasting back pain over time it is often referred to as “chronic back pain.”

What are the causes?
Because of anatomic complexity, determining the back pain generator can be quite difficult, requiring considerable patience and detective work. Back pain can be caused by injury to, or irritation/inflammation of, muscles or ligaments, arthritis of facet joints, vertebral fractures, spinal nerve root compression, disc degeneration / protrusions/ herniations, and by tumors.

Treatment Options:
Medications
Nerve “blocks”
Nerve ending ablation
Trigger point injections
Intradiscal procedures
Implantable devices
Physical Therapy
Complementary therapies

When should I call PainCare?
Often, acute back pain will gradually improve with rest and time. If you do not notice some improvement within the first 72 hours of self-care, see your primary care provider or contact us directly.

In some cases, acute or changing back pain can be a sign of a more serious medical condition that requires more urgent attention. See a doctor immediately if your back pain:

  • causes bowel or bladder incontinence (lack of control)
  • is associated with abdominal pain or throbbing, or if you have an accompanying fever
  • is particularly constant or intense, especially despite lying down or at night
  • spreads down into one or both legs, especially below the knees
  • causes weakness, numbness or tingling in one or both legs
  • follows an injury or accident
  • is accompanied by unexplained weight loss or a history of cancer, osteoporosis, steroid use, or drug or alcohol abuse.

 

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