Millions of people throughout the world suffer from the prevalent and devastating ailment of chronic back pain. While there are several potential causes of chronic back pain, certain factors are more commonly associated with the condition. In this article, we’ll explore the leading causes of chronic back pain and discuss when you should visit your doctor for back pain.
MUSCLE OR LIGAMENT STRAIN
One of the most common causes of chronic back pain is a muscle or ligament strain. This can occur due to lifting heavy objects or repetitive motions that put excessive strain on the back muscles. Symptoms of muscle or ligament strain can include a sharp or dull pain in the back, stiffness, and limited mobility. Treatment options for muscle or ligament strain typically include rest, physical therapy, and over-the-counter pain medications.
Problems with the discs that cushion the vertebrae in the spine can also lead to chronic back pain. For example, a herniated disc occurs when the outer layer of the disc tears, allowing the inner material to protrude and put pressure on surrounding nerves. Symptoms of a herniated disc can include pain in the back, legs, or buttocks, tingling or numbness, and weakness. Treatment options for disc problems may include rest, physical therapy, and pain management medications. Surgery can be required in some circumstances to resolve the problem.
Arthritis is a chronic condition that can affect various joints throughout the body, including the spine. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, occurs when the cartilage that cushions the joints wears down over time. Back pain, stiffness, and inflammation may result from this. Treatment options for arthritis typically include pain management medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications.
Sciatica is a disorder that develops when the sciatic nerve, which travels through the legs and from the lower back, is either compressed or inflamed. Symptoms of sciatica can include pain, tingling, or numbness in the back, legs, or buttocks. Treatment options for sciatica may include physical therapy, pain management medications, and surgery in severe cases.
WHEN SHOULD SOMEONE WITH BACK PAIN SEE A DOCTOR?
While many cases of back pain can be managed at home with rest and over-the-counter pain medications, there are certain situations where it’s important to seek medical attention. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it’s recommended to visit your doctor for back pain:
- Severe or persistent pain that doesn’t improve with rest or over-the-counter pain medications
- Legs or feet that are numb or tingly
- Weakness in the legs or feet
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Fever or other signs of infection
- Recent trauma or injury to the back
Chronic back pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including muscle or ligament strain, disc problems, arthritis, and sciatica. While many cases of back pain can be managed at home with rest and over-the-counter pain medications, it’s important to seek medical attention if you experience severe or persistent pain, numbness or tingling, weakness, or other concerning symptoms.
Your doctor at Specialty Care Clinics can help identify the underlying cause of your back pain and develop a personalized treatment plan to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Call us today at 469-545-9983.