In the United States, back pain is the fourth most common presenting condition in a primary care office and the most common cause of work-related disability. Up to 80% of adults will experience low back pain during their lifetime. Back pain can be caused by a wide range of factors, including poor posture, muscle strain, disc problems, and spinal conditions.
Types of back pain
There are two types of back pain: acute and chronic. Acute back pain is a sudden pain that lasts for a short period of time. Chronic back pain is a long-term pain that lasts for more than 12 weeks.
Common causes of back pain
There are many different causes of back pain. Some common causes include:
- Muscle strain: Muscle strain can be caused by poor posture, lifting heavy objects or sudden movements.
- Disc problems: Disc problems, such as a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease, can put pressure on the nerves in the back, leading to pain.
- Spinal conditions: Spinal conditions, such as spinal stenosis or facet joint arthritis, can cause back pain.
Treatment options for back pain
There are many different treatment options for back pain. The best approach will depend on the cause of the pain and the severity of the symptoms. Some common treatment options include:
- Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help to manage mild to moderate pain. In more severe cases, prescription medications may be necessary.
- Injection therapies:
- Epidural steroid injections are a type of injection that delivers a steroid medication directly into the spinal canal to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
- Nerve blocks and radiofrequency ablation (RFA) can be used to disrupt nerve signals and reduce pain.
- Trigger point injections target tight, cramping muscles helping to relax them and relieve pain.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help to strengthen the muscles in the back and improve posture, reducing the risk of further injury.
- Chiropractic care: Chiropractic care involves spinal manipulation to help relieve back pain.
- Surgery: Surgery may be required in cases where back pain is caused by a structural problem and is not improving with conservative treatments.