The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports that 80% of adults will, at some point in their life, experience low back pain. And a study done by the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases reports that lower back pain is the world’s top cause of disability, with 10% of people around the world suffering from this. Anyone who has had spinal pain or back pain knows how debilitating it can be — and how much it can affect one’s quality of life. Lower back pain treatment can often be simple, though in some cases, it may be indicative of a larger health problem, and require more in-depth treatment, such as surgery or spinal cord stimulation therapy. However, under no circumstances should people ignore their back pain. If you’re experiencing back pain — especially if it’s chronic — you should absolutely seek out your doctor and find out what’s going on.
Why Should I Get My Spinal Pain Checked Out?
Shockingly, almost 40% of Americans who have lower back pain never get professional help. Yet, almost 60% of those who suffer from chronic pain report that it has a negative influence on how much they overall enjoy life. Chronic pain, especially chronic back pain, can severely reduce your quality of life. Even if it’s something as simple as a pulled muscle, you want to know what steps and precautions to take, to avoid irritating it further. Your doctor may also be able to suggest ways to manage severe pain.
Spinal pain can also be indicative of much larger health concerns, like cancer, tumors, degenerative disc disease, nerve damage, or sciatica, among other ailments. All of these require immediate treatment to keep them from getting worse.
What Can Be Some Causes of Spinal Pain?
Some back pain may be as innocent as a ligament or muscle strain — you shoveled too much snow or lifted something a bit too heavy, or you may need to work on improving your posture. If this is the cause of your back pain, you want to be more attentive about what muscles you lift with, and be gentle with your back — you don’t want to throw it out, which can put you out of commission for days.
You could also have a bulging disc, which can occur in the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar regions of your spine, though 90% of them occur in the lower, or lumbar back. These often cause nerve pain, when the disk ruptures and presses on the nerve.
Arthritis and osteoporosis can also be common causes of back pain, especially if one is older. Wear and tear on the bones and joints can lead to pain when one moves. There are also more severe causes of back pain, such as cancer or tumors spreading to the back area, sciatica, which a type of nerve pain that runs down the lower back, or skeletal deformities, such as scoliosis or kyphosis.
What Can I Do About My Spinal Pain?
If it’s not severe spinal pain, you should take it easy. Rest your back, adjust your movements and activity level, and apply heat or ice as needed or recommended by your doctor. Taking anti-inflammatory medicine that you can get over the counter can also help. Your doctor may also suggest some stretches or strengthening exercises that can help loosen your back and make it stronger to avoid future incidents.
If those don’t work, muscle relaxants, back braces, and steroids may be tried as treatment to relieve pain. Decompression surgeries, lumbar spinal fusion surgery, or surgeries to remove tumors may also be a method of treating spinal pain and attempting to get rid of it entirely.
It’s important to speak with your doctor before trying more advanced methods of getting rid of your back pain and you should always be conferring with him or her if you’re experiencing ongoing back pain.
Don’t let your quality of life suffer because of lower back pain. There are so many ways to help alleviate your pain and keep you doing what you love.