Medication may be helpful in some situations, but it is often unnecessary when it comes to reducing back pain and a wide range of other types of pain. A physical therapist can determine why you are experiencing pain and provide recommendations for moving the muscles and bones in your back to reduce pain naturally without needing to use medication.
Here is an overview of possible reasons for your back pain and what you can do about it!
Anatomy of the Back
Your spine plays a key role in your overall health and your ability to sit and move without pain. Various back muscles, tendons, and nerves also help you move and walk properly and comfortably. Problems with any of these components can reduce mobility and lead to various issues.
Major Causes of Back Pain
Back pain can come from a wide range of sources. This means it is important to have your doctor locate the source of your issue to make sure you are treating it as effectively as possible.
Here are five possible reasons you may be experiencing back pain.
Muscle or Ligament Strain
Frequent heavy lifting as well as other types of intense physical activity that involve your back can lead to muscle or ligament strains. These strains can lead to intense pain and muscle spasms, especially for individuals that are not in good shape. Using proper form to safely lift heavy items and taking breaks when you need to can make them much less likely to injure your back.
Back pain can also be caused by various diseases and other medical conditions. Osteoarthritis is a specific type of arthritis that impacts the lower back. Like other types of arthritis, it causes your joints and the space between the bones of your back to become inflamed, stiff, and sore. This condition can lead to spinal stenosis, a secondary condition that can increase back pain by reducing the amount of space around the spinal cord and its ability to move comfortably.
Osteoporosis is another medical condition that affects the bones in your back. It can lead to pain by making these bones weak, brittle, and more likely to break. Most individuals lose some bone mass as they age. However, osteoporosis occurs when this process happens at a much more significant rate than average.
A spinal disk that is not where it is supposed to be loses its ability to effectively cushion the bones it sits between, and a ruptured or otherwise bulging disk can lead to bones in your spine moving out of their proper positions or even rubbing against each other. This can make moving your back more difficult and less comfortable.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a disease that leads to back pain by causing the bones in your spine to fuse together and impact your ability to move. This inflammatory disease reduces the overall flexibility of your spine.
Diagnostic Tests That Identify the Cause of Your Back Issues
Your doctor may perform a variety of diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your back pain. This is an important step in choosing the most appropriate treatment option for your situation. Some common tests that are used to diagnose the cause of back pain include:
An X-ray is the most basic option for locating visible problems with your back. Your doctor can use this option to determine whether certain bones are out of place, broken, or otherwise visibly deteriorating.
MRIs or CT Scans
An MRI or CT scan allows your doctor to look closer at the overall mass and composition of your bones than what an X-ray is capable of showing. This test can tell your doctor if your bones are less dense than they should be or identify other potential problems with your tendons, nerves, or muscles.
Nerve studies can measure the relationship between your nerves and muscles. This can help your doctor determine whether they are communicating properly. It can also be particularly helpful for identifying pressure on nerves.
Blood tests can detect an underlying infection that may be causing your back pain. This can be particularly helpful if other types of tests are not showing any conclusive problems.
How Physical Therapy Strengthens Core Muscles
Regular exercise plays a major role in keeping your bones and muscles healthy. Physical therapists can teach you specific motions that can help in reducing pain in these areas. These exercises can strengthen your core muscles by improving your posture and spinal alignment, reducing pain on specific pressure points, and keeping your body moving. They can also provide recommendations for using modified movements that are easier on your back when you are experiencing pain.
At Cawley Physical Therapy and Rehab, we are here to help you manage a wide range of pain and motion problems without medication. Schedule an appointment today to learn why you are experiencing back pain and how we can help you manage it!