Welcome to the first installment of the Back Pain Basics Series. In this four-part series we are going to take a look at the types of back pain, common reasons fof back pain, tips on how to deal with back pain and finally, we will take a look at why so many people struggle to find relief with traditional, doctor prescribed treatment methods.
The Back Pain Club is far from an exclusive one, it is estimated that between sixty to ninety percent of the population will suffer from some type of back pain at some stage of their life. Those figures equate to millions of people and perhaps the most startling statistic is that half of those people will never find out the cause of their back pain! As wonderful as modern medicine can be, the diagnosis and treatment of back pain continues to be an area where there is much more to learn.
Types Of Back Pain
The first way that back pain, and pain in general, is categorized is with the length of time that it is present.
- Acute Back Pain or short-term pain lasts from a few days to a few weeks and is usually the result of a trauma or injury to the spine or surrounding tissues and is typically easy to diagnose and treat. Acute Back Pain symptoms that are left untreated have the potential to become more severe – I found this out the hard way five years ago and it ended up costing me my career, my business and a decent lifestyle. Don’t be a goose like me, take all back pain very seriously, even if it is only a slight niggle!
- Chronic Back Pain is characterized by pain that lasts for more than three months. Chronic pain is often progressive and many different ‘trigger areas’ can be involved which can make diagnosing and treating this type of back pain quite complicated. Chronic back pain is typically described by sufferers as a deep, dull and aching type pain that is felt mostly in the lower back area and in some cases down either or both legs. Chronic back pain can be caused by an old injury that has since healed or an ongoing condition such as arthritis or nerve damage but in many instances the underlying cause is never discovered.
Back Pain can be further categorized by the location of the pain.
- The Cervical Region – Pain in the Cervical region affects the neck. Common causes of pain in this area are whiplash injuries and conditions that develop from the aging process, such as osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease.
- The Thoracic Region – Thoracic back pain occurs in the upper-middle section of the back. Because there is not a lot of weight being carried at this level thoracic back pain is typically not caused by disc problems. The most likely cause of pain in this area is poor posture over a lengthy period of time or continued strenuous activities such as heavy lifting. Chest pain is often a symptom of thoracic back pain as the vertebrae in this area are also attached to the rib cage. For this reason it is vital to get an accurate diagnosis before putting it all down to back pain.
- The Lumbar Region – A large percentage of all back pain comes from the lower or Lumbar region of the spine. There is a whole host of possible causes for feeling pain in this area, a prolapsed or ‘bulging’ disc that can lead to the Sciatic nerve becoming irritated is one very common cause. Typically an x-ray or MRI scan will be called for when experiencing pain in this area and it is important to examine any ’structural defects’ in the spine before starting any type of treatment.
- The Sacral And Coccygeal Region – Although the bones of the Sacral and Coccygeal region are not structured like the vertebrae and joints of the rest of the spine they can still be a source of pain. The sacrum bone makes up the back part of the pelvis and it is connected, via the Sacroiliac Joints, to the Iliac Bones of the pelvis. Pain in this area is often referred to as Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction and is more common in women than men. Pain in the Coccygeal region, or coccyx, at the very bottom of the spine is referred to as Coccydynia and this is also more prevalent in women than it is in men.
Leave a Reply