Back pain can be a complex and difficult symptom to diagnose and treat. There are many types and causes of back pain, with a variety of treatment options that may need to be explored to find a method that works best for the patient’s condition.
Back pain can be axial, referred, or radicular. Axial pain, also called mechanical pain, is confined to one spot or region. It can be characterized as sharp or dull, constant, or throbbing. This type of pain may be caused by a muscle strain, facet joints, or annular tears in discs.
Referred pain can feel dull and achy and tends to move around and vary in intensity. This kind of pain can be caused by degenerative disc disease and may radiate pain to the hips and posterior thighs.
Radicular pain is commonly described as searing or electric shock-like pain that follows the path of the spinal nerve as it exits the spinal cord. Compression and/or inflammation to a spinal nerve root can cause this type of pain. Other terms for radicular pain include sciatica or radiculopathy. The cause of radicular pain may be a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or spondylolisthesis.
The back has many interconnected and overlapping structures that can become strained or injured and cause pain. The anatomical causes of back pain include:
Back pain may be caused by the following conditions and factors:
It’s important to identify the cause of the back pain before developing a personalized treatment plan.
At Westcare Clinics, healthcare practitioners treat patients experiencing back pain with pain management techniques, injections, and occupational medicine.
Joint and soft tissue injections, such as epidural injections (interlaminar and transforaminal), piriformis injection, sacroiliac joint injections, and trigger point injections, can help ease back pain. The type of injection that is done will depend on the location of the back pain and its severity.
For patients experiencing back pain, Westcare Clinics doctors may recommend incorporating pain management techniques into the treatment plan, such as physical therapy, mind-body techniques, gentle exercise, occupational therapy, and therapeutic massage. The pain management techniques will be customized according to the patient’s needs.
Westcare Clinics also offers occupational medicine to help patients maintain the strength and flexibility they need to continue working. Our healthcare practitioners are qualified to train employers to adapt the workplace and worker responsibilities to the physical limitations of their employees.