“80% of the population of the United States, at some point in their life, is going to have back pain,” says Ronald J. Wisneski, MD, an orthopedic surgeon, specialist in spinal disorders and spine surgery, and associate in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa.
Most of the time, that pain is centered in the lower back and non-specific, meaning there is no primary cause found. About 2% to 10% of people who experience lower back pain develop chronic low back pain, which affects daily living for at least 3 months.
At Dynamic Health & Pain Management, our back pain specialists target and treat the source of your acute or chronic pain to help you achieve long-term, sustainable relief without the use of prescriptions or surgery.
Causes of Lower Back Pain
Before we talk about our innovative pain management protocols, let’s talk about the causes of lower back pain. The lower back is a complex network of inter-working and overlapping elements, including:
- Tendons and muscles and other soft tissues
- Highly sensitive nerves and nerve roots that travel from the lower back down into the legs and feet
- Small and complex joints
- Spinal discs with gelatinous inner cores
The back is subject to a lot of mechanical stress and strain. Supporting all of your upper body weight is the spine, which is made up of more than 30 small bones called vertebrae stacked one on top of the other. A spongy piece of cartilage, called a disc, sits between each vertebra. It acts as a shock absorber, preventing the bony vertebrae from grinding against one another. Damage to any of these elements of the spine can result in back pain.
There are many causes of back pain. Overuse injuries are a very common source of lower back pain and stiffness. Certain causes of lower back pain have a tendency to occur more often in younger individuals versus older adults:
- Younger adults (30-60 year olds) are more likely to experience back pain from the disc space itself (e.g. lumbar disc herniation or degenerative disc disease), a back muscle strain or other soft tissue strain.
- Older adults (over 60) are more likely to suffer from pain related to joint degeneration (e.g. osteoarthritis or spinal stenosis) or from a compression fracture.
Others causes of chronic lower back pain include:
- Torn Disc – a tear in the annular tissue (the outer layer of the spinal disc). A disc tear is typically caused by a combination of disc degeneration and trauma.
- Spondylolisthesis – normal wear and tear makes it hard for your joints and ligaments to keep your spine in the proper position, especially as we age. When a vertebrae moves more than it should, it can slide forward and on top of another. When this happens, bones can press on the spinal nerves and cause lower back pain.
- Vertebral Fractures – vertebral fractures of the thoracic and lumbar spine are usually associated with major trauma and can cause spinal cord damage that results in neural deficits.
- Spinal Stenosis – a narrowing of the spine space around the spinal cord can put pressure on nerves. The narrowing is typically caused by bone spurs that have developed as a result of osteoarthritis.
- Scoliosis – an abnormal curvature of the spine can cause back pain.
Lower Back Pain Treatment
If you have any concerning symptoms, call your doctor right away. Your back pain may not go away completely, or it may get more painful at times. Learning to take care of your back at home and how to prevent repeat episodes of back pain can help you continue with your normal activities. Your doctor and other health professionals can help you manage your pain and keep you as active as possible. Your doctor may refer you for physical therapy.
The physical therapist may try to reduce your pain, using stretches and traction. The therapist will show you how to do exercises that make your back muscles stronger, so you can prevent future back pain. You may also see a massage therapist or someone who does spinal manipulation (a chiropractor, osteopathic doctor, or physical therapist). Sometimes a few visits with these specialists will help back pain.
As specialists in lower back pain management, we can:
- Thoroughly assess and accurately diagnose your condition
- Develop a comprehensive pain relief plan specific to your needs
- Provide treatment that targets medicine right where you hurt
- “Turn off” pain signals or disrupt their communication with your brain
Our Charlotte pain management specialists, we provide chiropractic adjustments and medical rehabilitation in a warm and welcoming environment where you will be treated as an important individual. Our courteous, highly trained team of medical professionals work together to ensure you have a pleasant and comfortable experience.
Are you experiencing lower back pain? Use our Personal Pain Navigator to tell us where it hurts. For immediate care, schedule a complimentary consultation by calling 704-525-6288 or use our Contact Form.