Identifying and Treating Back Pain
Back pain is an incredibly common problem, across the board. These pains range in intensity and frequency. They can be sharp or dull, they can come upon suddenly or they can be constant. Back pain is most likely to be caused by some sort of accident or misstep. Lifting something heavy, especially not using one’s knees, or falling in a way that injures your back is also common. More rarely, one might have a medical condition that leads to some kind of back pain.
What Type of Back Pain Do You Have?
Identifying your back pain begins with understanding the onset of the pain, the degree of the pain, and how long it lasts. Typically, back pain is broken into three categories:
- Acute: This means that the pain comes on suddenly, then last for a period of a few days to a few weeks.
- Subacute: Is defined as back pain that may appear suddenly or over a period of time. It will last four to twelve weeks.
- Chronic: This type of back pain may either appear quickly or slowly. It lasts for a period longer than twelve weeks.
What Are Symptoms of Back Pain?
Paying attention to the signals your body gives you can be helpful. Identifying whether the pain covers your entire back or is in one stand-alone spot, or if the pain is radiating to your legs, abdomen or back will help identify the problem. This allows for more helpful, accurate medical treatment.
- Bending and lifting may cause an increase in pain
- Back pain may come and go
- Pain may increase even when not moving – sitting, standing and resting
- Radiating pain that goes from the back to the hip, leg or buttocks
- Waking up with a stiff back that is alleviated by activity
What Is the Source of Your Back Pain?
If the body is experiencing problems that fall under the category of structural or mechanical problems – such as spinal concerns or problems with ligaments, tendons, muscles or discs in the back – this can exacerbate existing pain or cause it all on its own.
While lifting or twisting in the wrong way, the ligaments supporting the spine may become sprained. A strain, on the other hand, is a tendon or muscle injury that could be cause by any number of physical activities. Pain may also be caused by disease or degenerative conditions.
When Should I Seek Medical Treatment?
If your pain is not improving after a few weeks, it is recommended to speak with a doctor. Additionally, if you experience tingling and numbness, or if medication does not improve it (consult on the type and frequency with your doctor also) you should speak with your doctor.
If your pain is the result of an injury or fall, or is accompanied by and of the following, you should see a doctor as well:
- Weakness in the legs
- Numbness or pain in the legs
- Difficulty urinating
- Unintended or unexpected weight loss
If you are concerned, it is always a safe bet to check with a doctor or a pain specialist, to get the answers you need.