Back & Neck Pain Q & A
What are Some Common Causes of Back Pain?
Your back is a complex network of bones, muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, and other soft tissues. A number of different things can cause back pain, including:
- Traumatic and sports injury
- Skeletal abnormalities
- Bulging or ruptured discs
- Nerve damage
- Muscle strain
Back pain can range from mild to debilitating and can cause stabbing or shooting sensations. Your pain might grow worse when you lift, stand, bend, or walk but improve when you recline. It’s also common for back pain to radiate into your shoulders, arms, and legs.
When Should I See a Doctor About My Back Pain?
Occasional back pain is part of life, but pain that’s severe or doesn’t improve with rest and self-care should be evaluated by a doctor.
If your back pain follows a fall or back injury, seek immediate treatment. You should also come in for a diagnostic exam if back pain is accompanied by bladder or bowel problems or fever.
Am I at Risk of Developing Back or Neck Pain?
Anyone can experience neck or back pain, but there are risk factors that raise your chances of developing these issues. You can have a higher-than-average risk of back or neck pain if you:
- Are over 40
- Live a sedentary lifestyle
- Use improper lifting techniques
- Are overweight or obese
- Have arthritis or certain types of cancer
- Are prone to anxiety and/or depression
Improving these conditions can lower your risk of back and neck pain, and also enhance your overall health.
What Can Be Done to Treat Back and Neck Pain?
Treating back and neck pain begins with a thorough diagnostic exam. X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans can help your doctor better understand what’s causing your pain. Bone scanning, nerve studies, and blood tests are also valuable diagnostic tools.
Medication can play a role in your treatment, but every effort is made to reduce reliance on pharmaceutical solutions. Muscle relaxants, narcotics, and even certain antidepressants can be effective in pain management.
Corticosteroid injections are another treatment and work by delivering a local anesthetic and an anti-inflammatory medication directly into the affected joint or epidural space. These injections are also used to pinpoint the source of neck and back pain.
Physical therapy and targeted exercise are also options. This approach strengthens the muscles that support your neck and back and helps you learn to use your body in a way that prevents certain types of back pain.
Lumbar radiofrequency neurotomy is a minimally invasive procedure that disrupts the transmission of pain signal to your brain. Spinal cord stimulation is another option that alters the way pain signals are processed.
To explore these and other treatments in greater detail, schedule a visit at Comprehensive Pain Center today.