Back problems are incredibly common. In fact, back pain is the leading cause of missed work days and work limitations. It affects adults of all ages and can strike seemingly without warning. For some adults, back pain is a brief nuisance that resolves on its own after a couple weeks of self-care measures. For others, back pain can last and leave you wondering what to do about it.
Family medicine physician, Evan Allen, MD, here at Total Care Family Practice in Henderson, Nevada, provides a comprehensive range of care to keep the entire family well. From preventive screenings to pain management, Dr. Allen uses a patient-centered, collaborative approach to help you achieve and maintain wellness.
It’s hard to know where to turn when you have pain that just won’t go away. Perhaps you twisted a certain way or made a typical bending movement and now you’re dealing with an aching back that won’t resolve.
In either event, if you have pain despite self-care measures like rest and ice, it’s time to see a doctor. Dr. Allen will evaluate your back pain and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan to get you feeling better.
What structures make up your lower back?
Most back pain occurs in the lower back, called the lumbar spine. Five vertebrae (referred to as L1-L5) make up the lumbar spine and support much of the weight of the upper body. Other parts of the spine include the neck (cervical) and upper back (thoracic). Below your lumbar area are the sacral and coccygeal regions.
Intervertebral discs, which are round, rubbery pads sandwiched between the bones of your spine, act as shock absorbers so you move and bend painlessly and with ease. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments provide connection and support. The spinal cord contains thirty-one pairs of nerves that govern body movements and carry signals from the body to the brain.
Problems with any of these structures can give rise to back pain.
What causes back pain?
A disruption in one of the components of the spine, whether it’s the nerves, muscles, or intervertebral discs, is the most common cause of back pain.
Any of the following can lead to back pain:
- Inflammatory disease
- Age-related wear and tear
- Nerve problems
- Spinal cord problems
Sometimes other health problems can cause back pain, such as kidney stones and endometriosis.
Treatment approach to lower back pain
Seeking help from a medical professional is the first step to getting the answers and treatment that will help you start feeling better. There are many treatments for back pain.
Some of the ways we manage back pain are:
- Physical therapy
- Corticosteroid injections
- Muscle-relaxing medication
- Anticonvulsant medication
In some cases, surgery is an appropriate treatment. For example, if you have a bulging disc in your spinal column and your back pain fails to respond to other treatments, surgery to remove the bulging disc can bring relief. If this is the case, Dr. Allen refers you to an orthopedic surgeon.
If you’re struggling with back pain, don’t hesitate to schedule a visit with us. Book your appointment online or over the phone today.