What is Back Pain?

Back pain is a common complaint that can lead to other bothersome symptoms and affect the ability to perform daily tasks. While back pain might be managed at home, talking with a physician can help to provide proper treatment options.

Back pain is often associated with the following symptoms:

  • Muscle ache
  • Muscle spasms
  • Shooting or stabbing pain
  • Pain that radiates down the leg
  • Difficulty standing up straight or walking
  • Limited range of motion

Most back pain symptoms will subside with at home treatment over the course of a few weeks. If symptoms do not improve, are severe, or if pain extends to one or both legs, you should contact a doctor.

Causes of Back Pain

Back pain can often be a result of injury from a fall or heavy lifting or might have a cause that is harder to identify.

Common conditions that can contribute to back pain include:

  • Sprain or Strain – from a sudden abnormal movement or lifting a heavy object
  • Arthritis – osteoarthritis in the spine
  • Spine irregularities – a spine that curves abnormally from severe scoliosis or other conditions
  • Osteoporosis – If compression fractures develop in the spines vertebrae, bones can become brittle

Treatment for Back Pain

You might be able to treat your back pain and prevent future symptoms at home with a few lifestyle changes. Regular exercise such as walking and swimming can help you maintain a healthy weight and can strengthen your back to improve muscle function. Core strength exercises and stretches that target the abdomen and back can improve flexibility and relieve back pain.

To diagnose back pain, a physician can use a number of different tests including X-rays, CT scans, blood tests, and nerve studies. Depending on the cause and severity of your back pain, several different treatment options might be recommended. Medication such as over-the-counter pain relievers, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, or numbing injections can be used to control symptoms of back pain. Physical therapy and exercise are also commonly recommended. During physical therapy, heat, ultrasound, and electric stimulation can all be used to help reduce pain. Exercises can also be done to improve flexibility and strengthen the back muscles to improve symptoms and posture.

If you experience severe or worsening back pain, Springfield Urgent Care can help.

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