What causes back pain?
Most back pain can be classified as either mechanical or compressive. Mechanical causes of back pain include injuries like a fall, heavy lifting, and sudden awkward movements. Most cases of mechanical back pain are referred to as back strains. Back strains result from injuries to the spine’s facet joints, discs, ligaments, or muscles.
Compressive back pain is caused by irritation or compression of the nerves along the spine. Conditions like bone spurs or herniated discs are the most common cause of compressive back pain.
Other conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis can also affect the back, causing damage to the bones and joints in the spine. Back pain can occur suddenly or gradually and worsen over time. Pain that lasts longer than three months is referred to as chronic back pain.
Who is at risk for back pain?
Although anyone can develop back pain, there are certain factors that increase your risks. These include:
- Obesity or excess body weight
- Jobs that require heavy lifting
Back pain can affect anyone, including children and teens, but it’s much more common in people 30 and over. Excess body weight and lack of physical activity also increase your chances of developing back pain. If your job requires repetitive or heavy lifting, you’re also more likely to develop mechanical back pain.
How is back pain treated?
Treating your back pain first requires a diagnosis of your condition. Depending on the underlying cause of your condition, there are a number of possible treatment options. To diagnose your condition, Dr. Anand first performs a physical exam to check your back and your ability to sit, stand, walk, and lift your legs. Based on your initial exam, he may also perform several other evaluations including an X-ray, CT scan, MRI, or blood test. These tests help Dr. Anand can determine the severity of your condition and the underlying cause of your symptoms.
For most minor or acute back pain, symptoms can be relieved with at-home care. A few days of bed rest and some over-the-counter pain medicine are usually effective treatment. You and Dr. Anand discuss techniques and exercises you can do at home to increase your flexibility and ward off future back pain.
If your back pain is chronic or severe, Dr. Anand may suggest medications or injections to address the cause of your condition. Patients who are unresponsive to these methods may require surgery for effective treatment. Dr. Anand specializes in conservative pain treatment, exhausting all nonsurgical options before surgery is considered.