Did you know that back pain affects up to 80% of people at some point in their lives? It’s the most common reason people miss work. And the second most common reason for doctor visits in America.
The good news—it doesn’t have to be this way for you. You don’t need to live in pain or have it disrupt your work, life, or activities.
At OC Wellness Physicians Medical Group, we take a comprehensive approach to managing your back pain. With multi-disciplinary treatment options, we help you get out of pain—and keep you out of pain—so you can live the active, healthy life you deserve.
WHAT IS BACK PAIN?
Back pain can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp, or shooting pain. It can begin suddenly as a result of an accident or from lifting a heavy object. It can also develop over time as we age. Overworking your body, getting too little exercise, or performing a strenuous workout when your body isn’t warmed up, can also cause back pain.
There are two types of back pain—acute and chronic pain.
Acute or short-term back pain lasts a few days to a few weeks. Most low back pain is acute. It tends to resolve on its own within a few days with self-care, and there is no residual loss of function. In some cases, a few months are required for the symptoms to disappear.
Chronic back pain usually continues for 12 weeks or longer, even after an initial injury or underlying cause of acute back pain has been treated. About 20% of people affected by acute back pain can develop chronic pain when not properly treated.
WHAT ARE SYMPTOMS OF BACK PAIN?
The most common symptoms are sharp, stabbing, or dull pains that radiate throughout the upper or lower back and sometimes into the extremities, buttocks, and hip areas. Muscle aches in the back or surrounding areas are common whether a person experiences low, mid, or upper back pain.
Often there is a lack of mobility and a limited range of motion due to chronic back pain.
WHAT CAUSES BACK PAIN?
Several conditions can lead to back pain. Most are mechanical, meaning there is a disturbance in the usual way the components of the back move. A disruption in the spine, muscles, nerves, or discs can cause acute or chronic pain.
From car accidents to a bad fall, repeated heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement can strain spinal ligaments and back muscles.
- Sprains – overstretched or torn ligaments
- Strains – tears in tendons or muscle
- Spasms – a sudden contraction of a muscle or group of muscles
- Trauma – injured tendons, ligaments, or muscle; compression of the spine can cause discs to rupture or herniate.
- Sports injury
- Car accident
- A fall
The discs between the bones (vertebrae) in your spine act as spongy cushions. The soft material inside a disc can bulge or rupture and press on a nerve, causing shooting, stabbing pain.
- Degenerative disc Disease
- The rubbery discs between vertebrae can wear down and lose their cushioning ability. This degeneration can occur from sports injuries and the normal aging process.
- Spondylosis is the general degeneration of the spine associated with normal wear and tear in the joints, discs, and bones of the spine as people age.
- Spinal Arthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Nerve and Spinal Cord Problems
Your spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that carries messages back and forth from your brain to your muscles and other soft tissues. Your vertebrae—a stack of backbones—not only hold your body upright but protects the essential spinal cord. The nerves of your spinal cord run out to your muscles through openings between each vertebra.
Spinal cord compression can occur anywhere from your neck down to your lower spine and cause symptoms such as numbness, pain, and weakness. Depending on the cause of the compression, symptoms may develop suddenly or gradually. This compression may require anything from supportive care to emergency surgery.
- Spinal nerve compression, inflammation, or injury
- Sciatica is caused by something pressing on the sciatic nerve, which travels through the buttocks and extends down the back of the leg.
- Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal column that puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. This compression can cause various symptoms, including shooting pain, numbness, tingling, and cramping in the neck, back, legs, and arms.
- Spondylolisthesis occurs when a vertebra of the lower spine slips out of place, pinching the spinal column’s nerves.
- Herniated or ruptured discs can occur when the intervertebral discs become compressed and bulge outward.
- Osteoporosis is a progressive decrease in bone density and strength, leading to painful fractures of the vertebra.
- Skeletal irregularities, such as scoliosis
- Spina bifida
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR BACK PAIN?
We offer several therapies that are incredibly effective in reducing and eliminating back pain. We seek to prevent acute pain from turning into chronic, long-term pain.
- Spinal Decompression
- Regenerative Medicine
- Pain Management
- Chiropractic Care
- Physical Therapy
- Massage Therapy
- Trigger Point Injections
- Pilates for strengthening
- Laser Therapy to reduce inflammation
- Advanced Options
- Facet Injections
- Radio Frequency Ablation
The best ways to keep your back healthy and strong and avoid back pain as much as possible are to maintain consistent habits and a good relationship with your healthcare team to address your specific conditions.
There are several ways to help keep your back limber, flexible, and resilient to pain:
- perform back-strengthening and stretching exercises a few times a week
- maintain good posture
- avoid lifting overly-heavy objects – always bend your knees and keep your back straight when lifting something heavy
- stay active by walking or exercising daily
- eat a healthy, balanced diet
- sleep on a supportive mattress
WHAT CAN I EXPECT DURING MY FIRST VISIT?
At OC Wellness Physicians Medical Group, we have a well-rounded, holistic approach to your back pain care. Our expertly-trained staff works collaboratively to provide comprehensive patient care and better results from a combination of treatments. But first, we want to know about you and what you are experiencing.
Here’s a summary of what to expect during your initial appointment:
- Let’s talk – we want to know how you are feeling, what you are experiencing, and what you’d like to improve.
- You’ll fill out a detailed health history.
- We will perform an examination and a series of tests.
- X-rays or other in-house imaging will be taken if needed.
- Our staff will develop an initial diagnosis.
- Our doctors will provide recommended options for a treatment plan.
- If you are using insurance, our staff will contact your insurance company about coverage. If you are not using insurance, we have flexible cash options and easy-pay financing plans available.
We’ll personalize your back pain treatment plan specific to you and your current situation. Since we use a comprehensive approach to pain management, your care will be complemented with physical therapy, trigger point therapy, massage, and other pain management modalities.
You’re always involved in your treatment care each step of the way. We can treat and manage your symptoms for both immediate relief and long-term success, all in one place.
Ready to start feeling good and living without back pain?
OC Wellness Physicians Medical Group provides comprehensive back pain management and injury recovery programs. Our entire team is dedicated to you and living your life pain-free!