Causes of Back Pain and How to Alleviate It : Advice from Dr. Moore
Are you suffering from back pain and not sure what’s causing it or what options you have to alleviate your pain? We asked Dr. Moore to share his answers to some common questions people have about back pain. Here are some useful tips and information to help you better understand your pain and options, so you can return to a pain-free life.
Is there a common denominator in patients who suffer from back pain?
Back pain can occur in people of all different ages. One common cause is a lack of flexibility and conditioning, often due to their pain. This sets up a vicious cycle in which lack of mobility due to pain only leads to more pain. It is vital that you stay active, maintain close to your ideal weight, and strengthen your core muscles (back and abdominal muscles) in order to prevent or minimize most back pain.
How many patients with back pain are suffering from a related injury? Can I have back pain without a specific injury?
Dr. Moore says that most – greater than 75% – of his patients don’t remember a single incident that relates to the onset of their back pain. Their pain came on gradually and flared up occasionally over the years. Eventually the pain gets worse and each flare up lasts longer until they determine they need to seek medical help. On the other hand, back pain can also be caused by a specific incident such as a fall or carrying a heavy load.
What is a common complaint from people who suffer from back pain?
According to Dr. Moore, the universal wish among his back pain patients is to be able to participate in normal activities again without pain. This is commonly centered around housework, gardening, playing with their children and grandchildren, and sports activities such as golf or horseback riding. They often say they still partake in these activities, but they pay for it for days afterwards.
How can I get immediate relief for my back pain?
For an acute flare up, rest, ice, and moderate activity will resolve most normal back pain in a few days or weeks. Complete immobility and bed rest is no longer advised. It is important to keep active and gradually increase activity as you are able. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen, naproxen, other over the counter meds in this class) are often very helpful in the initial stages. Please consult a doctor if you have a history of intolerance to these medications. Once the pain resolves, we recommend starting a fitness and weight loss program.
My back pain keeps getting worse. Should I see a doctor?
If your back pain worsens, your first doctor visit should be to an interventional pain specialist, most of whom deal primarily with back pain. Many people will start with a surgeon even though the vast majority of back pain patients never need surgery. However, if your symptoms include a sudden onset of weakness, foot drop, or losing control of your bowels or bladder, you should see a surgeon immediately.
Back pain patients come from all stages of life. Whatever your age, the root cause is typically lack of flexibility and conditioning. Maintaining a healthy weight and strengthening your core should alleviate most back problems. If your pain persists, please consult your doctor or a pain specialist.
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