Nearly 65 million Americans report experiencing back pain. Around 16 million adults also suffer chronic or persistent back pain, leading to limited mobility in certain everyday activities.
According to national survey data, 8.2 percent of American adults have chronic severe back pain. In addition, about 74.8 percent of individuals with chronic severe back pain have difficulties with mobility, social participation, or self-care. Aside from physical constraints, back pain can also affect people psychologically and socially.
This article will walk you through the common causes of back pain, nonsurgical methods to treat and manage the condition, and where to seek help. Back pain can interfere with your physical and mental health, so knowing your pain management and treatment options is essential in living your life to the fullest.
Common Causes of Back Pain
Back pain is an issue that affects many people. One of the leading causes is poor posture. Sitting or standing in a slouched position puts extra pressure on the spine, leading to discomfort. Another frequent trigger is muscle strain. Lifting heavy objects incorrectly or engaging in strenuous activities can strain the muscles and ligaments around the spine.
Stress is another overlooked factor that can contribute to back pain. When we experience stress, our muscles, including those in the back, tend to tense up. This prolonged tension can lead to muscle fatigue and soreness. Exercise is an excellent way to relieve both stress and back pain.
Other contributing factors include age-related wear and tear, herniated discs, and underlying conditions like osteoporosis. Sometimes, the issue might be a combination of these factors. Recognizing the underlying cause is crucial for effective treatment and lasting relief.
Nonsurgical Pain Management and Treatment Options
Doctors treat back pain in various ways, including medications, nonsurgical treatments, surgical treatments, and lifestyle changes. Here are some standard minimally and non-invasive methods you can explore to target back pain depending on your diagnosis:
- Medication: Products for back pain relief include over-the-counter pain relievers in oral or topical forms, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen. Prescription medications and muscle relaxants can also help manage pain and inflammation associated with back issues.
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation: Working with a physical therapist to improve posture, strength, and flexibility through customized exercises and stretches, along with manual techniques can reduce back pain.
- Diet modifications: Excess body weight has the potential to contribute to or exacerbate spinal issues by exerting forward pressure on the spine. Adapting a more mindful diet can help maintain a healthy weight. As inflammation is the root cause of all kinds of pain, try embracing a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
- Joint injections: These may include epidural steroid injections, nerve block injections, or facet joint injections. A steroid or pain reliever injected into a joint can provide rapid pain relief by numbing the joint and effectively blocking pain signals. In addition to pain reduction, injections can serve the dual purpose of pinpointing the pain’s origin.
- Bracings and Supports: Orthopedic braces or supports may be recommended to provide stability and alleviate pain in certain back conditions.
- Chiropractic Care: Chiropractors use spinal manipulation and adjustments to address misalignments and promote pain relief and improved function.
- Acupuncture: This traditional Chinese therapy involves the insertion of fine needles into specific body areas to stimulate healing and pain relief.
Back Pain Prevention
Back pain can significantly affect various aspects of your life, from work to leisure activities. Incorporating these preventive measures can help you maintain a healthy and strong back for a long time. It’s all about relieving pressure, reducing strain, protecting your spine, and strengthening your muscles.
Be mindful of your posture when sitting, standing, and walking. Invest in ergonomic furniture and adjust your screens to eye level when working or watching. Whenever feasible, lessen the load on your shoulders.
You can do this by reducing what you carry, evenly distributing the weight on both sides of your body, or alternating the weight between shoulders. Contemplate utilizing a rolling cart or a backpack with wheels for heavier loads like grocery bags or file boxes.
Regular physical activity is also essential to promote blood flow, flexibility, and muscle strength. Engage in sports or Pilates to keep your spine and muscles healthy, or stretch your back, legs, and neck during the day.
Where To Seek Help
Are you suffering back pain from a vehicular, sport, or workplace accident? If you get injured, you should seek first aid or other necessary medical care immediately. If your injury doesn’t require a trip to the emergency room, you should still schedule an appointment with a physician to evaluate your condition and provide a precise diagnosis.
If your back pain results from an injury, contact a personal injury lawyer for a thorough case evaluation. Legal professionals can guide you on your rights and possible compensation.