Alongside the common cold, back pain is the leading reason for doctor visits in the United States. The anatomical complexity of the human spine may explain the high prevalence of back aches. Upright posture, lifting and twisting movements, gravity and overexertion all make the spinal area particularly susceptible to pain.
- "If you’ve ever groaned, “Oh, my aching back!”, you are not alone. Back pain is one of the most common medical problems, affecting 8 out of 10 people at some point during their lives."
- — The U.S. National Library of Medicine
Causes, Signs, and Symptoms
As with other forms of physical discomfort, pain felt in the back may be a result of overworked muscles. However, there are many different types of back pain with many potential causes. Lower back pain is particularly common, but many people also complain of middle back pain, upper back pain and back pain associated with sciatica. Some common triggers include: muscle sprains, tissue strains, herniated spinal discs, broken bones, spinal canal constriction (spinal stenosis), osteoporosis, osteoarthritis or other degenerative joint diseases and infection.
Back discomfort can range from a slight annoyance, to a crippling pain that requires frequent medical attention. Common symptoms include: stiffness along the spine, a sharp ache in the upper, lower or middle region of the back, persistent soreness in the middle or lower back regions (particularly after sitting or standing for an extended period of time), muscle spasms of the back, and trouble standing straight or bending over. In many instances, the pain will move to various other areas, radiate to the extremities, or cause additional symptoms, such as numbness, tingling or weakness.
Back aches are typically intermittent and cannot be easily identified or treated. The discomfort may come about suddenly or it may be a chronic issue. More often than not, the discomfort is resolved within a reasonable short period of time. However, the pain could be related to an ongoing illness or injury.
Back Pain Treatment Options
Most forms of back pain can be relieved with basic treatments, such as rest, heat, ice, exercise, or over-the-counter medications. However, if none of these options prove to be effective, medical evaluation is the next logical step. One of our doctors can discuss treatment options following a consultation, call 512-244-4272 to make an appointment today. We have locations in Austin, Round Rock, Georgetown, Waco and Cedar Park.