Studies have shown that as much as 80% of people are likely to experience back pain symptoms at some point in their lives. Since it is a prevalent problem, several treatment options are discovered that provide relief from back pain. Yet, many people suffer from back pain for an extended period of time because it is complex for doctors to diagnose the precise cause and design an effective treatment plan.
Physical therapy is one of the most commonly prescribed treatments for back pain relief. An experienced physical therapist can perform a thorough evaluation of your condition and curate an individualized plan that can help you alleviate the pain permanently.
Such accurate diagnosis and hands-on treatment require skills and experience, so finding a qualified physical therapist is of paramount importance.
In this post, we have mentioned some of the most common types of the back. By looking at the symptoms mentioned, many of you will figure out the kind of back pain affecting you. However, please note that this article is for information only, and there is no substitute for professional guidance by a physical therapist.
5 Different Types of Back Pain & Their Treatments
Commonly known as mechanical pain, this type of back pain is limited to one spot or a body region. The Axial pain does not affect multiple areas of your back at the same time.
The primary indicators of axial back pain may vary from person to person. Usually, the affected person may experience sharp, dull, or throbbing pain that comes and goes with specific movements. Muscle strain, facet joint tear, and annular tears in the disc are the most prominent reasons for this type of back pain.
Flexion Dominant Back Pain
Flexion dominant back pain is usually, but not always, caused by a disc injury. The primary symptoms of this type of back pain are shooting or numbing pain in the spine, legs, or both.
Most patients suffering flexion dominant pain often observe that their symptoms worsen with sitting, bending, lifting. Impaired range of motion, tingling or numbness in legs, and weakness are also common symptoms of this condition.
In mild cases, the pain and inflammation might go away when you stand or walk for short durations. However, to avoid chronic pain and maintain your spinal range of motion, it is essential to perform directional exercises/stretches targeting the lumbar spine. It is advisable to seek guidance from your physical therapist for the most effective result, but often, low-intensity lumbar spine stretches are a good place to start.
Extension Dominant Pain
This type of backache is generally caused by damage to the zygapophyseal joints placed at the rear end of your spine. This may be the case for most people, but it does not apply to all patients. Extension Dominant pain tends to follow a recognizable pattern which includes the following signs and symptoms
Pain after standing for too long.
Temporary pain relief after sitting or lying down.
Numbness in the legs, tingling, or pain and soreness after high-intensity physical activities.
Stiffness in the lower back.
Ideally, the rehabilitation program for extension dominant back pain is designed to reduce the pressure on the spine in extension. Acupuncture and manual therapy are two of the most recommended treatment modalities for these types of back pain.
Once the pressure on the spine is alleviated, your physical therapist may prescribe spine strengthening and hip mobilization stretches. These stretches focus on facilitating back pain relief, building muscle strength around the spine while gaining length in shortened hip muscles.
Radicular pain is generally characterized by electric shock-like or scorching that follows the path of the spinal nerve as it exits the spinal canal. The root causes behind such back pains are the pinching or inflammation of the nerve roots or degeneration of the disc.
Radicular pain in the lower back (lumbar spine) can also radiate into one or both legs. Often the pain is also accompanied by tingling and loss of sensation. One of the leading causes of these backaches is sciatica.
Inflammatory back pain
This back pain is often caused by excessive inflammation of the spinal joints. Certain conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis manipulate the immune system and cause it to attack the spinal joints. These conditions are a significant reason behind spinal joint inflammation that leads to Inflammatory back pain.
These back pains are often misdiagnosed; hence it is essential to consult a professional doctor to determine the underlying cause for inflammation. This back pain can last for up to three months, and in most cases, the pain is more intense during early morning hours and late night.
It can be effectively relieved by gentle activities. Turmeric can also help to alleviate inflammation and has no side effects when used in small portions.
5. Chronic Pain
Chronic pain in the back region is one of the most challenging disorders for patients and medical professionals. In such conditions, the nervous system tricks the brain into interpreting stimuli as harmful even when it is not. This triggers inflammation in the affected area and leads to lingering pain.
It's a complicated issue that needs a thorough understanding of the patient's medical history to determine the cause that has activated this condition.
For most patients, the usual treatments won't prove to be effective. Therefore, they will have to implement a multidisciplinary approach for long-term back pain relief. The treatment usually is a combination of various therapies like physical therapy, manual therapy, strengthening exercises, etc.