Doctors' Choice Physical Medicine

Types of Back pain

As any good chiropractor would tell you, there is no single cause of back pain. This is because back pain can occur due to various reasons, and affect different areas. It is important that you have an understanding of the nature of your ailment before going to the chiropractor for treatment.

Types of Back Pain: Location Of The Pain

Back pain is classified in two categories, depending on where the pain occurs.

Upper Back Pain

Pain in the upper back, shoulders or neck is termed as upper back pain. There can be certain causes of upper back pain, such as stretched tendons or damaged ligaments due to strenuous physical work. Upper back pains aren’t as common as lower back pains, and can be treated by taking pain relievers such as Paracetamol or by visiting a Chiropractor.

Lower Back Pain

Like the name suggests, lower back pains are directed at the base of the back, and occur due to the overstretching of muscles in the lower back or direct injury to that area. This pain can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as lifting something heavy or bending in an awkward position. Treatment for lower back pains is the same as for upper back pains.

Types of Back Pain: Duration Of The Pain

Besides location, pain can also be classified according to duration.

Acute Back Pain

A short term pain, lasting from a few days to weeks, is called an acute back pain. There may be numerous causes of this pain, the most common being blunt trauma caused by Ankylosing spondilytis, arthritis or other medical conditions.

The symptoms of this pain can range from muscular aches and incorrect posture to shooting pains in the buttocks and back of the legs. Acute back pain can lead to serious problems, but is generally harmless, and most people tend to let it heal itself.

Chronic Back Pain

If the pain lasts for more than 3 months, it is termed as chronic back pain. The cause of chronic back pain can rarely be determined without the help of a chiropractor or other medical professional. This long term pain gets progressively worse with time; immediate treatment is necessary to prevent further complications.

Arthritic Back Pain

Arthritic back pain is a subcategory of chronic back pain.  If you been told your back pain is “arthritis” you should not accept that diagnosis because it is a non-specific diagnosis.  On x-ray there will be findings of arthritis on just about everyone over 50.  You need to know the specific findings especially if you had an MRI.  These are some specific findings that may be call “arthritis”.

Even if you have some of the above findings it may not mean anything if the imaging findings don’t correlate with your clinical examination.  For example, over 60% of herniated discs found on MRI do not cause pain.

Now that you know what type of back pain you suffer from, you can act on them by looking up for home treatments online, or doing exercises which may stimulate the back. It is also recommended that you visit your nearest chiropractor who could suggest you treatment options.

Here is an article on chronic pain that you may want to read and a Dr. OZ video on PEMF on pain relief.

 

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Posterior view of lumbar region for electrostimulation electrode placement.jpg