Back pain more properly describes a symptom rather than a diagnosis. There are multiple pain generators in the back including muscles, bones of the spine and pelvis, discs, nerves, and ligaments. Back pain may be related to muscle strains, poor posture, injury, or even unsupportive shoes. Back pain is often associated with:
- Poor posture
- Muscle strain
- Ligamentous injuries
- Lumbar Disc Herniation
- Spinal Stenosis
Listen to your body—and your back
Defining Acute and Chronic Back Pain. Chronic back pain is defined as discomfort which lasts longer than three consecutive months. Pain may also be considered chronic when it extends beyond the usual duration required for natural healing. Acute pain may last for hours, days, or weeks, but diminishes eventually.
Most cases of back pain are of limited duration and improve with home treatment. However, when discomfort worsens or gets in the way of function, it is worth exploring the root cause of the issue. Dr. Panjwani endeavors to reduce your pain and restore functionality.
Common signs and symptoms of back pain can include:
- Muscle ache
- Shooting or stabbing pain
- Pain down your leg
- Pain when bending, lifting, standing or walking
There are certain conditions and actions that increase risk for back discomfort:
- Psychological conditions
- Advanced age
- Sedentary behavior
- Excessive weight
- Improper lifting
Back pain is diagnosed through a medical history and physical examination. Certain imaging tests are also helpful, including x-ray, CT scan and MRI. Other diagnostic tests that may be helpful include electrodiagnostic studies and blood tests.
Elevate’s approach to managing back discomfort includes strategies to relieve pain, strengthen the body (particularly the back/core muscles), and promote healing in the process. Depending on the particular injury, Dr. Panjwani will seek to identify fundamental causes of and contributors to your symptoms and will customize treatment accordingly.
Treatments for back pain may include:
- Relative rest, application of ice or heat, and gentle stretches
- Physical therapy
- Trigger point injections
- Photobiomodulation for Back Pain
- Mind-body medicine techniques to manage stress and improve resilience
- Lifestyle medicine interventions to manage behaviors that directly impact pain and musculoskeletal health. May include lifestyle modifications such as dietary changes to reduce inflammation and sleep strategies to promote restful sleep and healing.
- Massage therapy
- Postural education
- Ergonomic modification
- Interventional pain management procedures or surgical options may be necessary in severe cases.
The following are tips to prevent neck pain from developing or worsening:
- Be mindful of your posture
- Take frequent breaks from sitting at your desk
- Adjust your desk, chair, and computer so that the monitor is at eye level
- Quit smoking. Smoking can put you at higher risk of developing back pain and many other musculoskeletal and health disorders
- Engage in healthy behaviors (such as good eating habits) to optimize the body’s immunity and innate healing mechanisms
- Exercise and stretch your back
- Stay hydrated
- Stress is directly related to back pain – minimize stress by practicing mindfulness, meditation, and breathing exercises