Back pain affects 80% of adults at some point in their life and can involve the spine itself, the muscles and tendons around the spine, the nerves leaving the spine or the organs and soft tissues. While most cases typically don’t last long you should be aware of the warning signs of a more serious problem.
Pain may occur in the muscles that support your spine, along the spine itself and may travel to your leg(s). Most back pain stops on its own after a week or two.
Be aware that you should seek urgent medical attention when you have back pain and any of the following:
- Fever of more than 100.4F
- Loss of control of urine or bowel,
- Difficulty passing urine (peeing)
- Loss of feeling in your buttocks or legs, unexplained quick weight loss, history of long term steroid use, history of cancer, HIV or IV drug abuse.
Most causes of back pain are considered mechanical (~97%), which means they are related to body posture and positioning. Treatment starts with correcting posture, proper lifting and strengthening the muscles that support the spine. Weight loss is often recommended for those who are overweight to improve back pain.
Treatment is directed at the underlying cause of pain. Mechanical causes generally respond well to time, proper body position and lifting, and physical therapy. Bed rest tends to increase the time it takes to recover and increases the risk of pain returning. Imaging such as x-rays or MRI is rarely indicated for acute back injuries but may be ordered at your clinician’s discretion or if the pain does not respond to treatment.
Temple Physical Therapy (referral required) 203-468-4620