Understanding the Causes, Symptoms, and Options for Relief from Chronic Back Pain
Summer is all about camping trips, going on long hikes, and maybe even taking a dip or two in the pool.
Unfortunately, those plagued with chronic back pain cannot enjoy summer as they should, but there is no reason to sit in agony and miss out on the experiences of the season. In fact, by understanding the causes, common symptoms, and treatment options, you can take your life back and get out there to enjoy your summer activities and festivities in no time.
Back Pain: What Causes it?
You cannot fix back pain without knowing the cause of it. Whether it is stiffness, tingling, or extreme pain you experience daily, understanding the root cause will help you correct and hopefully find relief in the future.
Common reasons people suffer from back pain include:
- Muscle Strain – The most common cause occurs when you stretch or tear the tissues connecting your back muscles to bone. You may experience limited range of motion while recovering, painful burning sensations up and down the areas of your back, and joint pain as other muscles compensate while you do not use your back as frequently.
- Herniated Disc – While it sounds serious, herniations are common and easily corrected. When the rubbery disc between your spinal bones is damaged or swells, it can lead to spasms, numbness in the extremities, and lower back pain.
- Sciatica – Commonly misunderstood, sciatica pain is not actually caused by overworking your body or lifting something too heavy. It may be due to muscle tension and unstable joints or pressure from a growing baby during pregnancy. It involves pain that radiates down the sciatic nerve, affecting one or both legs, and may also create a burning sensation in your lower back.
What are My Options for Treating Back Pain?
Back pain, regardless of how it is caused, is not something that should hold you back from enjoying your life or enjoying a summer full of fun and adventure. Instead, you have a few options for reducing pain or alleviating it entirely.
Effective options for treatment include:
- Physical Therapy – One of the most effective treatments is physical therapy. It involves meeting with a licensed, experienced therapist who customizes a routine of exercising, strengthening and pain relief methods to help alleviate the cause of your back pain, strengthen back muscles, and ultimately bring relief.
- Testing to Find the Root Cause – Without knowing the root cause of your back pain, it is almost impossible to come up with a treatment plan. Using Electromyography (EMG), you can measure the response to a nerve’s stimulation within the muscle. It helps look for any neuromuscular abnormalities, which can pinpoint causes of back pain.
- Resting and Icing – If you have recently injured your back, then the most crucial step is to rest and ice it for the next 24 to 48 hours. While you might be tempted to use heat, since warmth makes you feel relaxed, heat can cause inflammation – which only prolongs your discomfort.
- Moving More – A sedentary lifestyle can only further affect your back. The spine needs movement – that is what it was created to do. Once you have done the initial rest and recovery, you should get moving. While you should not do anything too strenuous, walking and stretching until you have gone through physical therapy can keep your spine healthy and prevent further injuries.
Healing from back pain starts with the right care team. The professionals at the Medical Rehabilitation Centers of Pennsylvania know how frustrating back pain can be, and we want to help you get on the road to recovery. You CAN get out and enjoy the summer weather!
Visit us for an initial consultation and our team will create a customized care and rehabilitation program that improves back pain so it no longer dictates how you live your life.
For physical therapy treatments or to learn more about how you can alleviate back pain, reach out to an MRCP clinic at one of our convenient locations in and around Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Area. You can also contact us online.