Back pain is cause by various reasons. There are many types of back problems based on location and how the pain feels. Treatment options vary from the medical to alternative care.
Why the Back Can Hurt
There are many reasons behind back pain. Back pain may be localized, or it can radiate to extremities. It can be in the small of the back or lower back (lumbar), mid back, upper back, and it can involve the neck, shoulders, hip, and tailbone. Pain may be on both sides, or just on the left side or right side. A sore back can involve pain that is dull or sharp and sudden. Some patients may have back pain that is chronic. Back strain can also include spasms of the back muscles, a pulled muscle, or general muscle strain. It can originate from a disease, infection, cancer, a pinched nerve, a herniated or bulging disc, or from exercise or working out, inflammation, pregnancy, or injury. People may experience more back pain with age, and others may have back strain from ergonomics, such as from standing up or sitting down in the wrong position at work and at home, or during a commute.
General Medical Treatments
There are many different treatments for back pain, depending on where it is and the type of pain, as well as the diagnosis of the reason behind it. Conservative medical treatments may involve ice, heat, rest, over-the-counter medications (NSAIDs, such as naproxen, or acetaminophen), various exercises, and physical therapy. More invasive options would include nerve blocks, antibiotics, spinal injections, prescription medication, spinal decompression therapy, and even surgery.1 Some prescription medications carry risks that may include addiction. Diagnosis of back pain could be done via standard medical exams or with expensive CT and MRI scans.2
Chiropractic, Massage, and Alternatives for Back Pain
In order to avoid the risks of surgery and the side effects of medications, patients may also explore alternative options to standard medical care. Some of these therapies focus on allowing the body to heal itself. Chiropractors are specialists in back pain remedies, and their adjustments manipulations, and techniques can help ease discomfort that their patients experience. They can also work with the patient in preventing future injuries by suggesting exercises and appropriate ergonomic options. Other ways chiropractors might provide relief include using electrical stimulation (TENS), and they may even employ traction, massage, nutritional advice and supplements, or acupuncture. Some patients may also want to get involved with yoga or Pilates, as well as other exercise and stretching regimens, in order to strengthen back muscles. It is important to know when to rest and when not to bend, lift, or twist. Appropriate back stretches can also be helpful.3
Learn more about back stretches and exercises for back pain.