Sharp lower back pain can be caused by so many different conditions it is difficult to really get a fix on what the cause could be. All you really know for sure is you have sharp lower back pain and it is sudden, persistent and usually below the waist. Although this is no consolation, this is a very common occurrence for the majority of the population.
If push came to shove, the most common guess on why you are suffering from sharp lower back pain would be muscle strain as a result of heavy physical work or lifting, bending or twisting the wrong way, or sitting or standing in really weird positions (anyone ever try and paint a ceiling overhand over your head?). On their own these movements can cause sharp lower back pain, but they may also aggravate existing sharp lower back pain.
Other possibilities for sharp lower back pain can and do include spinal stenosis (when channels in the spine containing the spinal cord and nerve roots become restricted), arthritis, spinal infection, tumors, a condition called spondylolisthesis (when one of the spine’s bones slips forward over the vertebra beneath it) and fractures. Now we’re certain that since you are reading this, you are likely hoping the cause of your sharp lower back pain is NOT one of the above.
Categories of sharp lower back pain fall into either the acute or chronic areas. Acute may come on out of nowhere like a freight train and bring intense pain that usually (but not always) lasts less than three months. Chronic, as you well know, means you have it often for your lifetime, and unfortunately, chronic pain can even have episodes of acute pain.
What would you be looking for, what signs do you need to relay to your doctor? Generally speaking when listing the signs of sharp lower back pain you would be pointing to a specific area of the lower back. It would have general aching or pain that radiates into your lower back, butt and legs. You might even have numbness, tingling or weakness. Again, generally speaking, low-level signs of problems are not cause for great concern as they can usually be dealt with speedily. If however you have bowel or bladder problems because of it and severe numbness that does not subside call your doctor.
So what would your doctor be doing to figure out why you are suffering from sharp lower back pain? Besides taking a full history, he would do something called a range of motion check. You stand straight up (as best you can while in pain that is) and how you stand is evaluated, as is how you bend forward, backward and to the sides. Anything that doesn’t look right is noted.
Next your doctor will do a slow and careful palpation of the spine that may reveal muscle spasms, displacements or other sore points. By the way, your doctor will also do an abdominal palpation to check for any organ involvement. Then get ready for a series of neurological assessments, lab tests, and imaging studies to try and get to the bottom of your back problem.
Chronic back pain is a serious condition that affects a large portion of the population. The reasons are varied from pulling a muscle to being in an accident. The one thing these all have in common is the excruciating and lasting pain. Although there are many reasons people develop chronic back pain, trucking is at the top of the list. If you are an individual that at one time suffered from chronic back pain, trucking is not an occupation you want to get into.
Back pain, especially lower back pain is the second most reason why people see a doctor, behind colds and flu. Statistics show that up to 60% of the population may see a doctor in any given year for back pain. Of all the reasons a person may get chronic back pain, trucking is one of the most frequent. Not only does sitting in one place for a long time in a truck aggravate a back problem, but it can often be the cause of chronic back pain. Trucking is an occupation where the driver puts in many hours each day, sitting in the same position with very few breaks in a day. Unlike some things that cause chronic back pain, trucking is one where there is little or no break in the routine.
If you’re playing a game of tennis or jogging and develop back pain, you will rest for days afterwards to give your back a chance to heal. Truck drivers, on the other hand, have to keep going day after day doing the same thing that caused the problem. Truckers, especially over the road drivers, don’t get home often enough to seek medical attention for something they think will go away on their days off or on its own. The result is that it eventually turns into chronic back pain. Trucking companies are constantly being urged to upgrade the equipment in their trucks such as the steering wheel and seats.
Steering wheels should be able to be adjusted for the driver’s reach and rake. The seats should not only be comfortable but should be able to be adjusted for tilt and height. With the truck drivers spending as much time as they do driving on the road, they need every advantage possible for good ergonomics and safe driving. The upholstery and structure of the seat should also be designed to hit the human body. If truck drivers are to avoid chronic back pain, trucking companies need to work towards making their trucks more “driver friendly”. This not only helps the driver, but also will help the trucking company avoid potential workmen’s compensation claims.
It may sound strange at first, but physical therapy management for low back pain means getting active for your pain control program. Often, pain in the lower back is due to strained or pulled muscles, but it’s just as often due to poor muscle tone. That’s right! If you let your back muscles weaken to the point they can’t efficiently do their job, you’re more likely to experience injury or pain. That’s not to minimize the pain of those with chronic back problems due to more serious conditions such as herniated discs, but physical therapy strengthens muscles and restores functionality.
There are varying levels of physical therapy programs that can be prescribed for back pain. The first is regular exercise you can do on your own that targets the low back muscles. For example, you can do the “plank” or the pelvic lift several times a week. The advantage of doing back exercises is that you actually work all your core muscles too. In other words, you’re exercising both the back and abdomen muscles. Strong core muscles are much less likely to be sprained or injured during daily activities.
Physical therapy management for low back pain may also include a monitored exercise program under the guidance of a physical therapist. In this case, you will work with the therapist to develop a muscle strengthening program that targets the lower back muscles. But you will only proceed at a pace based upon your improvement as measured by the therapies. In addition, physical therapy programs are often supplemented by other therapies such as medications.
Starting any kind of exercise program means you’re getting more active. So many people are overweight and inactive and pay the price with their back muscles. Physical therapy programs that focus on exercise can be adapted to the stage of pain you are experiencing. For example, during the initial stages of pain the special exercises will focus on exercises that will prevent the pain from getting worse.
The idea that physical therapy management for low back pain involves only lying on a table while a therapist bends your legs is long gone. Physical therapy may include muscle massages, walking programs or even aerobics. It all depends upon the amount and kind of pain you are experiencing. Often, exercise also serves as a way to relieve stress. Stress can cause muscle tightness and increase the level of pain you experience. The more you stress and worry the worse pain you may experience.
Physical therapy management for low back pain is frequently used to assist people who have lost the ability to function normally. In other words, they are virtually disabled. A progressive program of exercise and therapy works on two levels. First, your muscles are stretched and worked regularly to restore strength. Second, as you begin to recover your ability to move without pain, your will be mentally and emotionally motivated to improve. Pain begins in the brain and can be aggravated by despair over loss of abilities.
If you have bouts of back problems, physical therapy management for low back pain may be the solution you need to restore your muscle strength while reducing pain.
Individuals that suffer from certain kinds of back pain in the New York area may be in luck as the doctors there have a new NYC back pain treatment at their offices known as New York City DISC. This new type of treatment is known as Disc Decompression. This method is quite successful for people with degenerative disc problems, disc herniation and similar chronic back pain. The NYC back pain treatment is gaining popular with many back pain sufferers because it is not surgery and has a very good success rate, especially for those with disc herniation.
What the NYC back pain treatment does is lessen the disc herniations by enlarging the disc space and making the outer ligaments stronger so the herniated parts can move around freely and slip back in place. When there is more space between the discs, they are less apt to rub together causing pain. It also uses negative pressure on the area to reverse the pressure from the intra discs. Eventually the ruptured or herniated disc can move back to its original position.
The NYC back pain treatment is used as a good alternative for those that have disc-related back problems as well as other chronic back pain and have been told they need surgery. Many patients that have already had back surgery that has failed have also opted for the NYC back pain treatment. This gives them the hope of living a pain-free life without going through another surgery.
There are many other methods used as part of the NYC back pain treatment including:
• Botox injections are used when they have pinpointed the pain to a certain muscle or area and want to inject just that area. With most pain relievers, they are used in the entire body. With Botox, it is going in the exact muscle that has the pain. It’s used to release the muscle tension, reduce muscular contractions and give better range of motion.
• Epidurals are a series of injections given regularly. These are injected in a small area of the back and are especially effective for strained ligaments and inflammation in the back.
• Medication is still used for back pain. Some of the more common ones are antidepressants, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs, and anticonvulsants. Traditional pain relievers are also prescribed. Some doctors recommend patches or creams for pain as well.
• Nerve blocks are successful for some back pain sufferers by stopping the pain signals in the brain from transmitting. This is accomplished by injecting pain medicine directly into the nerve.
• Physical Therapy with a trained therapist is often used in the NYC back pain treatment. The therapist can work with your back problems by exercises, massage and electrolysis.
Regardless of the causes of upper back pain, it is still as miserable and agonizing as any other type of back pain. Although not as common as lower back or neck pain, it can cause significant soreness, discomfort, agony, and inconvenience and requires proper treatment. The most common causes of upper back pain are strain or injury, which includes joint malfunction, muscular irritation, and poor posture. Statistics show that one of the major causes of upper back pain today is people sitting in one position for extended periods. Upper back pain is a very common problem for individuals that spend their days sitting at a desk or working on the computer. They are at more risk from back pain than most. It is important to find the causes of upper back pain in order to have it treated properly and successfully.
Causes of upper back pain include a joint malfunction usually resulting from an injury or strain to the joints between the upper back and ribs. Muscular irritation is another of the causes of upper back pain normally as the result of inactivity or inadequate muscle strength. A vertebra compression fracture can cause chronic or acute upper back pain. Complaints of upper back pain in women over fifty may indicate osteoporosis and a vertebral compression fracture. Although osteoporosis is more common in postmenopausal women, it can develop in perimenopause women and in men. Some of the treatments for a painful vertebral compression fracture are rest and pain medication, or kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty surgery. A ruptured or herniated disk and degenerative disk disease are other causes of upper back pain but these are very uncommon and found in a very tiny percentage of people that are unfortunate enough to suffer with upper back problems.
Loosening your upper back muscles along with strengthening them are important because it helps relieve the stress put on your upper back and may prevent reoccurrences of the causes of upper back pain in the future. A physical therapist or chiropractor can help you do this. Regular stretching and strengthening exercises and practicing appropriate posture are necessary to help avoid many of the causes of upper back pain. Poor posture strains the ligaments and joints leading to weak muscles and pain. You can also treat upper back pain through, stretching exercises, deep muscle massage, ice and/or heat therapy, and acupuncture. Your doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory, pain medication, or muscle relaxant to help you deal with the pain.
To find out the exact causes of upper back pain, never try diagnosing yourself as that could possible do more harm than good. Instead, talk to your doctor about your pain so he or she can run the necessary tests to find the exact cause.