What’s Your Type? Understanding Your Kind of Back Pain
June 24, 2021
“It’s complicated.” If that sounds like your relationship status with your back, we get it, and more importantly, we get backs. In fact, so do many Americans. More than 65 million of us woke up this morning with back pain. It doesn’t matter your age, income, or activity level. Some of us are born with a condition that causes pain, and others experience it from years of sports, posture, or even childbirth.
At Beacon, our specialists get to know you, and your unique pain to identify the specific cause of it. Then together we can create a course of action. If you’re experiencing the intense pain of back problems, we’ve identified some commons types of backaches to help you better understand what could be your particular cause of pain.
First, we have to look at the structures in your back and in what ways they can cause pain. We have:
- Facet joints connecting your vertebrae
- Intervertebral discs provide shock absorption for your bones
- Large muscles supporting your spine
- Spinal nerves that go through your spinal canal to other parts of your body
- Bones, ligaments, tendons, and more are also present
For you, as the patient, it can be difficult to determine the source of the discomfort because different causes can create similar sensations. Your Beacon physician will walk through your medical history with you to help identify potential causes, but an accurate diagnosis will come through an exam and diagnostic tests — like MRIs, x-rays, etc. — when appropriate.
“People are surprised to learn that most back pain is treated without surgery. We can come up with an individualized treatment plan and help relieve their back pain,” says Beacon Pain Management & Rehabilitation Specialist Dr. Aarti Singla. However, if surgery is required, our expert Back & Neck Surgeons, Drs. Jaideep Chunduri, Michael Planalp, Ian Rodway, and Michael Rohmiller will ensure you receive the highest level of care through your surgery.
Types of Pains
How you describe your pain can help your doctor get to a diagnosis more quickly. There are three common classifications when it comes to back pain.
Axial (mechanical) Pain: Confined to one spot or region. Axial pain may be described as sharp or dull, comes and goes, constant, or throbbing. Muscle strains are common causes of axial back pain as are facet joints and annular tears in discs.
Radicular Pain: Searing or like a shock, radicular pain follows the spinal nerve path out of the spinal canal. It’s typically caused by compression and/or inflammation of a spinal nerve root. Other terms for radicular pain are sciatica or radiculopathy (when accompanied by weakness and/or numbness). Conditions like herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or spondylolisthesis can contribute to this type of pain.
Referred Pain: Typically considered dull and achy, referred pain can move around and vary in intensity. For instance, degenerative disc disease in the lower back may cause hip and posterior thigh referred pain.
Types of Common Back Pain Causes
We’ve gathered together some of the most common causes of back pain. Keep in mind, however, there is a long list of potential causes. These are just some of the most frequent types we see in our offices.
- Degenerative disc disease
- Fracture of vertebrae
- Herniated discs
- Muscle injury
- Muscle strains
- Pinched or compressed nerves
- Spinal stenosis
- Spondylitis (a spinal infection that creates inflammation)
We’ve Got Your Back
If you and your back have a complicated relationship, we want to help you uncomplicate it. Our back and neck pain specialists are here to help you regain a more pain-free situation with your back — or wherever you are experiencing acute or chronic pain. Contact us to schedule a time to experience the Beacon difference.
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