Some people have occasional back pain signs, and they might not think very much of it. As long as they can live their lives and pop a couple of Advil when they need it, they don’t spend much time worrying about what’s causing the problem.
You might be okay living your life like this for years. The only real issue is that it can worsen if you ignore your back pain rather than treating it. This behavior often happens with physical ailments: ignore them, and you could pay the price for it somewhere down the line.
With that in mind, we’re going to look today at some physical ailments that can begin with back pain.
We’ll start by looking at a condition where you have back pain signs, but no other notable symptoms. If you have a fever along with acute back pain or some other pressing symptom, then see a doctor right away. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that a fever is 100.4-degrees Fahrenheit or more.
You might have a muscle strain if you’re experiencing:
- A limited motion range
- Joint pain or discomfort
- Muscle pain originating in one particular spot
Doctors don’t generally regard muscle strains as too severe. They happen when you stretch or tear a muscle, or sometimes the tissue connecting bone to force. Medical science calls these tendons.
If you tear or stretch a back muscle or tendon, then that’s not the worst news in the world. You might not be able to do some of the things you usually can for a while. You can often treat this issue with ice and over-the-counter pain relievers.
Sciatica is another relatively common problem that can cause back pain. With sciatica:
- You have pain along the sciatic nerve
- You can have both lower back and leg pain
If you go to a doctor complaining of lower back and leg pain, they will probably think of sciatica first. If you have a spinal bone spur that presses on the sciatic nerve, that can cause it. A herniated disk can work as well.
With sciatica, a doctor will probably want you to take over-the-counter pain medication. However, they might also tell you to try physical therapy. This pain is a fairly common condition, with over three million people in the US experiencing it every year.
Ruptured or Bulging Disks
You also might have a ruptured or bulging disk that’s causing back pain. Your disks act as cushions between your spinal vertebrae.
There is the soft material in those disks. A rupture or bulge could be, pressing on a nerve as it does so. A fall or sudden twisting motion can cause this sort of injury.
If you’re in a car accident and approach your doctor with back pain later, they might suspect a bulging or ruptured disk. They’ll take X-rays to determine whether that is what’s happening.
A medical professional will probably recommend you stay off your feet for a while and use some over-the-counter pain meds to get the problem under control. However, if that does not work, they might try an epidural injection.
The doctor gives you a steroid injection in the space around your spinal nerve. It can ease your pain, bring down the swelling, and increase your motion range.
Arthritis can also cause back pain sometimes. This pain is another common occurrence with older adults.
If you have family members with arthritis, that makes it more likely you will have it. It can impact not just your back, but other body parts as well, especially your joints.
Doctors call the type of arthritis that impacts the lower back osteoarthritis. In some cases, you also might deal with the space around the spinal column narrows. Medical science calls this spinal stenosis.
Unfortunately, there’s no way for you to reverse the damage arthritis causes. That’s true for the back, knees, or anywhere else it manifests itself. However, you can still treat it in various ways.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help in some cases, as can corticosteroids. A doctor might administer these as injections or pills. They can reduce your pain and swelling and should help you move around easier.
Many people experience back pain at some point, and if it happens, you have to hope that it’s something less serious. In any case, you should certainly see your doctor if it persists for more than a few days at a time. It would be best if you determined what’s causing it.