back_pain123.jpegBack pain affects millions globally, influencing every facet of daily life, from personal care activities to work performance. Its prevalence is not just in numbers, but in the profound  impact it has on quality of life, leading to decreased mobility, productivity, and in severe cases, dependency on others for basic needs.

Genesis Medical Associates recognizes the multifaceted challenges back pain presents and offers a comprehensive approach to managing and treating this condition. Our team of specialists can help you identify and address the underlying causes of your back pain, providing personalized care and treatment plans to alleviate your symptoms and improve your overall well-being.

Start reclaiming your life from back pain by scheduling an appointment with us today. Choosing us means you get a care provider known as a Level-3 Patient-Centered Medical Home, highlighting our commitment to high-quality, coordinated care personalized to meet your unique needs.

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In this blog post, we will discuss 10 common causes of back pain and how our team at Genesis Medical Associates can help you find relief.

Understanding Back Pain

Back pain is a multifaceted condition that can range from a mild, temporary discomfort to a severe, chronic affliction that affects individuals of all ages and backgrounds. It typically originates from the muscles, nerves, bones, joints, or other structures in the spine, and its intensity can vary greatly.

This often manifests as a dull, localized ache or sharp, neck pain that radiates down the back, legs, or arms. Back pain can also be accompanied by other symptoms such as numbness, tingling, or weakness in the affected area.

There are 3 types of back pain:

  • Acute back pain is a sudden, sharp pain that lasts less than six weeks. It is often caused by damage to the muscles and ligaments supporting the back and can result from an injury, heavy lifting, or an unexpected twist.
  • Subacute back pain persists between six weeks and three months. This type usually stems from the same causes as acute back pain but takes longer to heal due to factors like insufficient treatment, underlying medical conditions, or repeated strain on the back.
  • Chronic back pain is defined as pain that lasts more than three months. This not only affects the physical aspect of a person's life but can also impact mental health, leading to issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression.

10 Common Causes of Back Pain

1. Muscle or Ligament Strain

Repetitive heavy lifting or sudden awkward movements can overburden the back's musculature and spinal ligaments, leading to muscle or ligament strain. This often results when the body is improperly aligned during physical tasks, placing uneven pressure on the spinal column.

Over time, or through a sudden awkward movement, this can cause tearing or stretching of the muscles and ligaments beyond their normal capacity. The result is pain, often accompanied by swelling and a reduced range of motion. 

2. Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is a common condition that occurs as part of the natural aging process. As we get older, our spinal discs lose water and elasticity, making them less able to provide cushioning and shock absorption for the spine. This can lead to back pain, stiffness, and reduced flexibility.

In some cases, degenerative disc disease may also result in compression of nerves, leading to radiating pain, numbness, or tingling in other areas of the body. 

3. Herniated Disc

A herniated disc occurs when an intervertebral disc bulges out from its normal position, placing pressure on surrounding nerves and tissues. This may result from a combination of factors, such as age-related wear and tear, injuries, or genetics.

Herniated discs can cause severe back pain and may also lead to symptoms in other areas of the body, depending on which nerves are affected. 

4. Arthritis

More than54 million US adults have arthritis or chronic inflammation in the joints. The condition is known to cause stiffness, pain, and swelling in the affected area. Spinal arthritis can result from conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or spondylosis, leading to joint inflammation and cartilage breakdown. This results in stiffness and pain in the back, especially upon waking up or after long periods of sitting.

5. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, characterized by weakened bones due to reduced bone mass and density, significantly increases the risk of fractures. This condition often affects the vertebrae of the spine, leading to painful fractures even from minor falls or, in severe cases, simple daily activities like bending or lifting.

Such fractures can cause sharp back pain and long-term discomfort, adversely affecting posture and mobility.

6. Scoliosis

According to the AANS, scoliosis affects 6 to 9 million people in the United States. This condition is characterized by an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. It can occur in children and adults, ranging from mild to severe cases. Symptoms may include uneven shoulders or waist, one hip higher than the other, or severe back pain and difficulty breathing due to the rib cage pressing against the lungs. 

7. Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spinal canal narrows, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. This can occur due to age-related changes in the spine or injuries that cause swelling and inflammation around the spinal column.

People with spinal stenosis may experience back pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the legs and arms. Symptoms may worsen with physical activity and improve with rest.

8. Fractures & Trauma

Fractures and other types of trauma, such as car accidents or sports injuries, can cause severe back pain. Fractures can occur in any part of the spine, from the cervical vertebrae (neck) to the sacrum (tailbone), depending on the impact's location.

Trauma-related back pain often requires immediate medical attention to prevent further damage and manage pain.

9. Tumor

Spinal tumors refer to abnormal growths of cells or tissues in the spinal canal or around the spine. These tumors can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous), and they may originate within the spine itself or spread from other parts of the body. Symptoms may include back pain, numbness, weakness, difficulty walking or balancing, and bowel or bladder problems. 

If cancer is suspected to be the underlying cause of back pain, prompt medical attention is necessary for proper diagnosis and treatment.

10. Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Myofascial pain syndrome refers to chronic pain in the muscles and connective tissues, often caused by muscle tension or trigger points. These points can be painful to touch or cause referred pain in other areas of the body.

Common causes of myofascial pain syndrome include poor posture, repetitive strain injuries, and emotional stress. Treatment may involve physical therapy, trigger point injections, or relaxation techniques.

How Genesis Can Help

Our pain and addiction management services at Genesis Medical offer a comprehensive approach to treating back pain. We offer specific potential care approaches and management services including:

  • Trigger-point injections: Trigger-point injection (TPI) treats painful muscle knots by injecting them with a mix of local anesthetic, saline, and sometimes corticosteroid, alleviating pain in the knotted and surrounding areas.
  • Interventional pain management on an outpatient basis: Interventional pain management is a medical field focused on diagnosing and treating pain-related disorders with minimal use of medications. It offers minimally invasive techniques to relieve, reduce, or manage pain, aiming to improve patients' quality of life.
  • Education regarding pain management and pain-related issues: Psychosocial factors like stress can exacerbate pain, leading to emotional distress in patients who suffer from chronic pain. Addressing this issue involves helping patients understand and manage their emotional responses through supplemental counseling and education. By doing so, patients learn to cope with their condition more effectively, potentially leading to pain relief.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy is a CDC-recommended, safe alternative to opioids for managing various pain types. Its combination of hands-on care, exercises, and education effectively addresses many pain sources.

Tips for Back Pain Management

If you are experiencing back pain, it's essential to seek proper medical care from a trusted healthcare provider like Genesis Medical. In addition to following your doctor's recommendations, there are also several things you can do at home to manage and prevent back pain, including:

  1. Maintain Proper Posture: Poor posture strains the spine, so it's crucial to correct posture regularly, especially while sitting for extended times, and use ergonomic chairs for spine support.
  2. Stay Active: Engage in regular physical activity to strengthen the muscles supporting your spine. Include exercises that improve flexibility and core strength.
  3. Healthy Weight: Work towards or maintain a healthy weight to reduce extra pressure on your spine.
  4. Proper Lifting Techniques: Always lift objects with your knees, not your back. Keep the object close to your body and avoid twisting.
  5. Quit Smoking: Smoking can affect spinal health by reducing blood flow to the spine. Quitting smoking can help maintain a healthier spine.
  6. Adequate Sleep: Invest in a good mattress and pillow that support your spine. Sleep in a position that naturally aligns your spine.
  7. Stay Hydrated: Keeping hydrated helps maintain the elasticity and fluidity of the spinal discs, reducing the risk of disc issues.

Why Choose Genesis Medical

Dayalan and Associates Family Medicine, a Genesis Medical practice, has earned the prestigious designation of a Level-3 Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH), the highest level of recognition awarded by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). This designation underscores our commitment to providing care that truly centers on the patient's needs, preferences, and values. 

Our team of healthcare professionals employs a holistic strategy that includes physical therapy, medication management, lifestyle adjustments, and when necessary, surgical referrals. We focus on not just alleviating pain but also on rehabilitation and preventive measures to enhance your quality of life and promote long-term spinal health.

Choose Genesis for Healthy Spine!

Back pain is more than just an inconvenience; it can significantly impact one’s quality of life, limiting mobility, and affecting overall health and wellbeing. Properly addressing this pain with the help of experts at  Genesis Medical is crucial for not only alleviating symptoms but also for preventing future spinal issues. Our team of experienced healthcare professionals is dedicated to offering personalized care that addresses the root cause of your pain, employing a comprehensive approach that combines physical therapy, medication management, and lifestyle adjustments.

Don't let back pain hold you back any longer. Take the next step towards reclaiming your health by  scheduling an appointment with us today. Together, we can work towards a healthier spine and a happier life.

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