Back pain is a common medical issue in the United States. Depending on the type of pain, where it is located, and the lifestyle of an individual, this pain can be debilitating. Dr. Glenn L. Keiper Jr MD, works with patients to help treat a variety of spine conditions. By correctly diagnosing the problem, a patient can start to move forward.
Types of Back Pain
Back pain episodes can occur for many reasons. Certain back pain issues arise from lifestyle situations. Sitting for too long or lifting in an irregular way can cause stiffness or a sharp pain when moving. Other types of back pain originate in the spine and may need professional treatment.
Typical symptoms of back pain include:
- long lasting pain that may come and go
- pain that spreads down one or both legs
- unexplained weight loss
- numbness or weakness
More Severe Symptoms
More severe types of back pain can include:
- bladder problems
- pain that does not improve
- back pain that has occurred after trauma
Depending on the individual, back pain can cause a variety of symptoms. Some of the more painful back pain episodes may include a herniated disc or a muscle strain. These can happen at any age and can prevent fluid motion.
A herniated disc is unique in that an individual may experience severe pain or none at all. This type of disc issue typically occurs in the cervical spine and the lumbar spine. Rarely is a herniated felt in the middle of the back.
What Causes Back Pain?
The spine is responsible for a wide variety of movement. Twisting, standing, and getting up from a seated position are all possible because of the strength and flexibility of the spine. When the spinal structure is damaged, back pain can be severe.
Spine care professionals such as Dr. Keiper, are experienced in spine health. By understanding the different causes and underlying structure of the spine, different conditions can be successfully diagnosed.
Anatomical causes for back pain can include:
- facet joints
- large muscles
- spinal nerves
- intervertebral discs
These interconnected and overlapping areas of the spine can become injured. When they are no longer able to support the spine or provide shock absorption for the bones, back pain can create an ongoing problem.
To determine the condition, KeiperSpine can provide experienced medical professionals like Dr. Keiper to examine the spine. Without a medical professional, the direct cause of back pain is difficult to pinpoint.
Certain types of back pain have specific symptoms. Knowing the types of symptoms, where they are felt, and the duration of pain can be helpful to a physician at KeiperSpine because there is detailed information to review.
Sciatica affects the sciatic nerve which starts at the lower back and extends down the back of each leg. Sciatica typically causes lower back and hip pain. It can also radiate down the back of one leg causing a burning or numb sensation. The pain is generally ongoing and can make it difficult to stand.
Muscle strain may come from an injury, muscle spasm, or tension. Lifting too much weight or experiencing an injury or fracture can cause this type of strain. Those who are pregnant can experience muscle strain as well as genetic factors and medical conditions such as arthritis.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal is too narrow. This disorder can be caused from a blockage or obstruction. When this happens, nerves may be compressed causing back pain. Sometimes this sensation can be minimized by leaning forward or resting.
Cervical Disc Herniation
A cervical herniated disc may feel dull or sharp and usually resides in the neck. Pain may increase or radiate when moving and some individuals can experience a numbing sensation. This type of spine issue can occur gradually or start as a result of an accident.
How To Minimize Discomfort
Minimizing additional damage is key when healing from back pain. Depending on the diagnosis, this can mean different precautions. Because Dr. Glenn Keiper is one of the top surgeons in his field, he is skilled in examining the patient and assessing the condition. Before any kind of diagnosis is made, specific questions must be answered including a family medical history.
When assessing the back, there are different types of pain. Acute back pain usually lasts less than three weeks but can come on suddenly. Acute back pain is usually experienced after an injury or sudden strain. Depending on the severity of this condition, some individuals are able to treat this with over-the-counter medication.
Chronic back pain continues for more than three weeks. If an individual is experiencing ongoing back pain, it is important they see a medical professional. The cause of this type of back pain could come from several different sources.
Referred pain is another type of back pain that must be diagnosed by a professional. This type of pain may feel like lower back pain, but it can actually come from a different part of the body. Other organs in the body can sometimes cause this physician and an exam is essential.
When Is It Time To Think About Surgery?
Back pain that lasts longer than a few weeks can be an indication of a more serious condition. It is important to visit a physician when back pain prevents everyday activities or appears after trauma. For severe pain or pain in an unusual area of the back, a specialized medical professional should examine the spine.
Certain individuals with spine conditions may greatly benefit from spine surgery. Dr. Glenn Keiper performs minimally invasive spine surgery that uses advanced techniques to treat back pain. Depending on the spine condition, there are different options available.