Your back is a complex structure made of bones, discs, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and other tissues. When something goes wrong with even the smallest component of this intricate arrangement, any simple movement can cause pain or discomfort. Common causes of back pain include:
Discs are the rubbery cushions between the bones of your spine. A herniated, or ruptured, disc can irritate nearby nerves, causing burning pain in your back that may radiate into one of your legs. Discs that bulge out of position but haven’t ruptured can also cause back pain.
Lifting heavy objects or making sudden movements can cause painful microscopic tears in your muscles or ligaments.
When a traumatic injury causes nerve or tendon damage, it can lead to chronic inflammation that prevents your body from healing normally. Left untreated, injury and inflammation can result in dull, perpetual back pain that worsens as time goes on.
Sitting at a desk or standing for long periods of time can result in back pain, especially if you have misaligned vertebrae, poor posture, or a lack of proper support.
Although back pain can affect virtually anyone at any age, it’s most common among middle-aged and older adults. A variety of factors can make you more prone to developing back problems as you get older, including:
Having arthritis can also be an underlying cause of back pain, or it may simply contribute to an existing problem. Smoking increases your chances of developing back problems, too, because it reduces the amount of nutrients and oxygen that reach the vertebral discs.
The team of physicians at The Neurology Group take a whole-person approach to back pain that incorporates a comprehensive diagnostic investigation to find the underlying cause of your pain before treatment. You may initially benefit from over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications to reduce discomfort and inflammation.
In many cases, a customized physical therapy program is the best way to target the root cause of your pain and stimulate your body’s natural healing process in a safe, noninvasive way. Physical therapy involves specific corrective exercises designed to treat back pain and prevent its recurrence by strengthening your back and improving your posture.