You have probably called in sick at work or visited your primary care provider because of back pain. Although it is a common problem, it should not be overlooked as it is a leading cause of physical impairment. Living with back pain can be frustrating because it may render your less productive and negatively affect your quality of life. Fortunately, most back pain gets better with home remedies such as using a heating pad and taking pain relievers. If the pain is unrelenting, your specialist at the Osteoporosis and Rheumatology Center of Tampa Bay uses other treatment approaches such as physical therapy, cortisone injections, and in severe cases, surgery.
What causes back pain?
Back pain may result from poor posture or straining of the muscles due to heavy lifting or repeated activities. However, chronic pain that gets in the way of your daily activities may signify an underlying problem. The following medical conditions are associated with back pain.
- Spinal stenosis
The epidural space allows for the passage of veins and nerve roots along the spine. Sometimes the spinal space can become narrow, causing nerve compression, which results in pain and other symptoms such as loss of sensation and muscle weakness. The condition is known as spinal stenosis, and it can develop due to herniated disc, thickened ligaments, and abnormal tumors within the spine. Most patients with this problem have neck or back pain in those regions where the narrowing is common. Fortunately, you can get relief from your symptoms through treatment approaches like medication, physical therapy, steroid injections, and, in severe cases, surgery.
Osteoporosis is an age-related problem that develops when there is more bone loss than new tissue growth. Because of this, bones become weak, and mild stresses from coughing and bending can cause a fracture. Although bone degeneration can affect all bones in your body, it is common in the hip, spine, and wrist. Most people do not experience any symptoms during the early stages of bone degeneration. However, as the condition progresses, patients experience back pain, develop a stooped posture, and decrease their height. Your doctor may prescribe medicines such as denosumab to increase bone density and hormone therapy. Lifestyle modifications such as limiting alcohol intake and quitting smoking can reduce your risk for osteoporosis.
As you advance in age, the discs and bones of the spine degenerate, a condition called spondylosis. It is a form of arthritis similar to osteoarthritis but affects your spine. The whole of your spine can be affected by degeneration, but the condition is more prevalent in the cervical and lumbar region. It is because the neck carries the weight of your head while the lower back supports and distributes most of your body weight. However, pain may not always be present in patients with spondylosis. Still, you may experience other symptoms such as reduced range of motion, paresthesias, and stiffness after long hours of inactivity or rest.
If you want to find out the cause of your pain, book a session with your specialist at Jeffrey Miller, MD, for diagnosis and treatment to resume your day-to-day activities.