The back is made up of bone, muscle and ligaments, all of which are capable of incurring damage from wear and tear and even disease. Back pain is often the result of a breakdown in the pads/discs between the vertebrae. This breakdown can be due to injury, disease, or other changes, including age and can be a source of a great deal of pain that can be constant and debilitating. In fact, more than one-third of all American adults reports having some form of chronic back pain. Here is more about low back pain and treatment options.
Each of your spine’s 33 vertebrae is cushioned by soft discs that have an outer layer of tough cartilage that surrounds a softer, jelly-like cartilage in the center. When a disc becomes herniated (bulging) the tough outer layer of cartilage starts to develop tiny cracks through which some of the softer inner cartilage may leak. You can expect severe and often acute back pain when that damaged disc touches on and irritates a surrounding nerves. If you are experiencing pain, numbness, or weakness, your doctor may recommend imaging via Magnetic Resonance Imaging; these tests are particularly effective at locating the damaged disc and assessing its condition. If your discs are damaged or starting to degenerate, your orthopedist may refer you to a physical therapist for non-invasive pain management.
There are more than one hundred different kinds of conditions that may be classified as arthritis. Two of the most common are osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease that causes a breakdown of cartilage and bone; and rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the synovial lining of the smaller joints of your spine. Depending on the type of arthritis you have, expect treatments to range from pain management injections and surgeries to something as simple as changing diet, exercising more and losing weight. Only a physician can determine for sure the type of arthritis you have; once diagnosed your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist for treatment and pain management.
Scoliosis and Other Back Conditions
Those who are born with curvature of the spine, as well as those who develop osteoporosis over time, may not only suffer pain, but also can experience a number of side conditions such as gastrointestinal issues, difficulty breathing, and headaches in addition to low back pain. If diagnosed with such a condition, your orthopedist may refer you to a physical therapist to help you strengthen your back, core and other supporting structures.
The Capital Area’s Physical Therapy Experts
Though 27 million people in the United States complain of back pain, in most cases the pain improves or subsides over time. Over-the-counter medications that have anti-inflammatory properties are helpful in reducing pain and swelling. In severe cases of chronic back pain, surgery may be warranted. The experts at Endeavor Physical Therapy & Wellness Speak will work with your healthcare professional regarding back pain and its accompanying conditions to create a treatment plan that can address your pain and keep you on the road to wellness. Download a physician referral form from our website. Once your physician refers you to our practice, we go about addressing your specific area of concern, treating the cause and symptoms. Be sure to ask us about our Workman’s Comp treatment program.