Low, middle and upper back pain
Back pain can range from annoying to disabling. Anyone who has suffered with back pain knows how debilitating and immobilizing back pain can be. It can be a dull constant ache or a sudden, shooting sharp pain. It can limit your mobility and make certain postures or positions painful. Swelling and stiffness generally accompany back pain. All of these factors combine with your body’s ability to move normally, and severely affect your overall quality of life. In fact, back pain can be so severe that people often suspect they’ve broken something. The good news is that in most cases this isn’t true.
Back Pain Basics
If you suffer from back pain you are certainly not alone. 9 out of 10 American adults will experience back pain in their lives, making it the 5th most common cause for visits to the doctor. Generally speaking, back pain is due either to traumatic injury or the normal wear and tear that accompanies aging.
Back pain can occur after having a baby. There are multiple causes. With the right diagnosis, this condition is easily treatable.
What are the Symptoms?
- Sharp or stabbing pain
- Pain with movement
- Difficulty moving
- Dull or aching sensation
- Inability to stand up straight
- A decreased range of motion
- Inability to flex the back
If strain or sprain is the culprit, back pain is usually short lived, lasting for days or weeks. Chronic back pain, however, occurs when symptoms persist. It is important to understand that although continuous chronic back pain may not be as painful as an acute episode, it might be an indication of a more serious spinal problem. In this sense the level of pain does not always “match up” with the degree of injury.
Back spasms can be excruciating and incapacitating, which normally accompany chronic back pain. Disk herniation may only cause a moderate amount of pain. You may also experience sciatica, which is pain affecting the back, hip, and outer side of the leg, caused by compression of a spinal nerve root in the lower back, often owing to degeneration of an intervertebral disk.
If you are experiencing persistent or worsening back pain, immediately consult with a physician who has expertise in the care of spinal problems. The following symptoms can be warning signs that you need to be evaluated by a physician:
- Back pain after injury, such as a fall
- Sudden unrelenting or disabling back pain
- Pain that travels into the arms and/or legs
- Leg numbness, tingling sensations, weakness
- Buttock and/or genital area numbness and/or tingling
- Back pain accompanied by fever
- Bowel or bladder dysfunction