Back pain is one of the most common conditions we treat at Airrosti. Our providers are expertly trained to accurately pinpoint and resolve the specific source of your back pain, leading to complete and rapid injury resolution in 89% of cases. Learn more about our quality approach to care.
The human back is composed of a complex structure of muscles, ligaments, tendons, disks, and bones – the segments of our spine are cushioned with cartilage-like pads. Problems with any of these components can lead to back pain. Back pain can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain that makes it hard to move. It can start quickly if you fall or lift something too heavy, or it can get worse slowly.
Back pain can be associated with any of the following common conditions Airrosti treats:
Back pain is typically categorized into two types: acute back pain comes on suddenly and persists for a maximum of three months, while chronic back pain gradually develops over a longer period and lasts for over three months (causing long-term problems).
Symptoms of back pain can include persistent aching or stiffness anywhere along your spine, from the base of the neck to the tailbone. You may experience a sharp, localized pain in the neck, upper back, or lower back — especially after lifting heavy objects or engaging in other strenuous activity. You may also have a chronic ache in the middle or lower back, especially after sitting or standing for extended periods. Back pain can radiate from the low back to the buttock, down the back of the thigh, and into the calf and toes. You may have an inability to stand straight without pain or muscle spasms in the lower back.
Back pain is more common the older you get. Back pain is also more common in people who are overweight and those in poor physical condition. Your job may also put you at increased risk if you have to lift, push, or pull while twisting your spine. If you work at a desk all day and do not sit up straight, you may also experience back pain.
Upper and mid back pain may be caused by overuse, muscle strain, or injury to the muscles, ligaments, and discs that support your spine; poor posture, a herniated disc, or myofascial pain that affects the connective tissue of a muscle or group of muscles.
Mid back pain, while not as common as upper or lower back pain, may range from dull and achy pain to severe sharp shooting pains going through the spine; all of which are extremely uncomfortable and may disrupt normal, everyday activities. Individuals with mid back pain may have acute pain that lasts a short amount of time and is most commonly from a fracture, or chronic pain that is often more intense and is consistent for a longer period of time.
Lower back pain can be caused by a variety of problems with any parts of the complex, interconnected network of spinal muscles, nerves, bones, discs, or tendons in the lumbar spine. An irritation or problem with any of these structures can cause lower back pain and/or pain that radiates or is referred to other parts of the body. Many lower back problems also cause back muscle spasms, which can cause severe pain and disability.
If your doctor suspects you have a back injury, he/she will typically order tests to help assess the injury (including x-rays, EMGs, and MRIs or CT/bone scans). In many cases, you’ll be prescribed a pain management plan, including a prescription for over-the-counter drugs, along with recommended periods of rest and inactivity. Codeine or hydrocodone may also be prescribed for short periods; they require close monitoring by the doctor. Other treatments include the application of heat, ice, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation, as well as some muscle-release techniques. If these therapies are not effective enough, cortisone may be injected into the epidural space to reduce inflammation around the nerve roots, but the pain-relief effect will generally wear off after less than six weeks.
If pain is severe or chronic enough, surgery may be recommended. Examples of surgical procedures include fusion, artificial disk replacement, and discectomy (partially removing a disk). However, research suggests that of the 500,000-plus disk surgeries performed annually, as many as 90% are unnecessary and ineffective.
A thorough evaluation and proper diagnosis is critical to effectively eliminating your back pain. At Airrosti, we pinpoint pain directly at the source, typically eliminating back pain in as few as three visits (based on patient-reported outcomes) with little to no down time. Our hands-on, targeted treatment has helped numerous patients avoid unnecessary back surgeries as well. Don’t let pain stop you from doing what you love. Schedule an appointment with an Airrosti provider near you today or call us at (800) 404-6050.