Dallas Back Pain Talk: Knowing Your Back Pain

Dallas Back Pain Talk: Knowing Your Back Pain

Uncomplicated Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Back Pain.

Back pain is not a joke. In fact, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010, back pain is the leading cause of disability around the world. Being the most commonly complained health issue, it is not a surprise that people have lots of unanswered queries about back pains.

What Exactly Causes Back Pain?

We’ve all felt an aching back at some point in our lives. As painful as it can be, the etiology or the ‘specific’ reason for pain is usually hard to pinpoint. Back pain has numerous causative factors, and sometimes it is difficult to identify which body part is actually in pain. It might be a muscle in the back, the bones, or nerves. And activities like lifting grocery items, gardening, sitting at the office chair, and playing sports can sometimes provoke back pain.

What Is The Back Made Up Of

Knowing a bit about the fascinating structure of the bones, nerves, and muscles of the back will help you understand why your movement or posture affects the condition of your back. If something more serious is the culprit behind the pain in your back, the basics can help you decipher and understand what’s wrong.

VERTEBRAL COLUMN AND OTHER BONESback pain dallas 257x300 - Dallas Back Pain Talk: Knowing Your Back Pain
Bones are living structures. They don’t obviously inhale or exhale but they produce the blood cells.

The spinal column a.k.a. ‘backbone’ is a flexible multipurpose structure. It allows the body to move in different directions and also holds the weight of the skull or the head. Contrary to some belief, the backbone is not  straight, it is normally curved as shown in the image on the left. This flexibility allows people to bend, twist, and swing a golf ball.

The other bony parts serve as protective covering or shells for vital organs like heart and lungs.

 

MUSCLES

treating back pain dallas 150x150 - Dallas Back Pain Talk: Knowing Your Back PainThere are two kinds of muscles: Voluntary (those we move) and involuntary (those that move on their own) . The muscles that support the spine are the voluntary muscles.

It can be observed in the photo, that muscles are layered. Some extends deeper while the others are just under the skin.

These muscles help keep and secure the bones in place.

 

SPINAL CORD SPINAL NERVESdallas back pain 300x272 - Dallas Back Pain Talk: Knowing Your Back Pain

The spinal cord is the tube-like structure with bundle of nerves that protects and nourishes the cords.

The nerves have two types: sensory and  motor.

From the word itself, sensory nerves govern pressure, pain, temperature and other sensations. The motor nerves, on the other hand, drive movement and other bodily function.

 

 

TENDONS, LIGAMENTS, and CARTILAGESdallas back pain treatments 268x300 - Dallas Back Pain Talk: Knowing Your Back Pain

A tendon is a band of tissue that connects muscle to bone.

A ligament is a strong fibrous, elastic band of tissue that connects bone-to-bone. It provides stability to the joint.

Cartilage is a soft, rubbery, gel-like padding between bones that provides cushion enabling bones to move easily.

 

Is All Back Pain the Same?                           

Just like snowflakes and zebra stripe patterns, not all pains are the same. Pain is very personal and unique.

Back pains can come suddenly or progress slowly. Some goes away o its own and others increase in intensity over a period of hours, days, or weeks. What distinguishes pain is its duration and location.

Duration Location
ACUTE CHRONIC WHERE IT HURTS & WHAT IT FEELS LIKE
  • Sudden
  • Short term
  • Less than 6 months
  • Progresses gradually
  • Long-lasting
  • Equal or more than 6 months
Maybe it hurts on the shoulder area, or on the center of the back. Maybe, pain is felt near the waist?

It hurts to stand. Or to sit. Or walk, or bend, twist, or turn around. Sometimes, it hurts when you are lying on bed or after sleeping.

Being specific and knowledgeable about where the pain is will help in proper diagnosis. A thorough assessment is needed to determine the specific location of the pain.

How to Relieve Back Pain?

The Do-it-Yourself Pain Relief

Because most back pains are just sprains or strains, it is important to know that they heal when inflammation subsides and the muscles, tendons or ligaments repair. Time heals, but while waiting for these structures to self-heal, you can do a lot to help the healing process.

  1. Heat and Ice – Sprains and strains can be treated with warm or ice packs. Both reduce muscle spasm and pain. Ice reduces the blood flow preventing swelling on the affected area. On the other hand, Heat stimulates blood flow by dilating the vessels. These dilated vessels allow the nutrients to travel to the injured area.
  1. Herbs – There are lots of herbal supplements in the market for back pain. Some are available in forms of food or drinks, oils, and topical ointments. It is believed that herbs like green teas, rosemary, turmeric and ginger help ease inflammation. There are a lot of scientific studies out there but most of these herbal teas have been used in Asian countries to treat pain and inflammation.
  1. Exercise – Stretching and moving the body parts regularly gets the blood pumping for a certain period. Aside from strengthening the body’s structures, exercise helps by releasing pain-relieving endorphins to system. These endorphins are natural pain relievers manufactured in and by the body. They function by blocking the perception of pain.
  1. Massage – Massage services can be provided by some facilities that are just around the corner. Also, there are hand-held devices that are available in the market. These devices work by vibrating and oscillating to thump the muscles. A simple tennis ball can even do the trick.

How to Use Tennis Balls For Back Pain?

non surgical back treatment dallas - Dallas Back Pain Talk: Knowing Your Back Pain

  1. Placed a used tennis ball on the floor and lie on it positioned under the sore muscle (not on a bone or your spine).
  1. Keep your knees bent with feet on the floor to put less pressure on the ball.
  1. Roll it up and down along the tight muscle/affected area in your back.

Make sure to breathe properly while doing it because it might feel intense and quite uncomfortable at first!

What are the other Non-surgical Medical Treatments?

  1. Physical Therapy – A lot of people with backaches probably have deconditioned muscles. This means that the muscles are not as strong as they need to function well and to support the body for daily movement. That is why strengthening of muscles is the core of physical therapy.
  1. Medications – Different drugs have different purposes and different pain meds have different effects. The World Health Organization implements and suggests a method of controlling pain medications as some are addicting and others have negative effects to the kidney or the liver due to over-dosage. This method is called “pain ladder”. Pain ladder’s idea is to start treatment at the bottom of the ladder with over the counter drugs with low strength effects and only move up on the ladder if pain intensifies or persists.

In the pain meds category NSAIDs or Non Steroidal Anti-Inlammatory Drugs are commonly prescribed for back pains. Others include acetaminophens and muscle relaxants.

  1. Injections – Remember the pain ladder? This is the top part of the ladder. Doctors sometimes recommend injections when all the other medications did not worked.

Injections deliver the medications directly to the affected area. Unlike oral meds, it doesn’t need to pass through the digestive system and liver to be metabolized or for the medication to take effect. But, here, we are using needles to inject meds to the body so it is more invasive and aggressive form of treatment.

injections for back pain 300x189 - Dallas Back Pain Talk: Knowing Your Back Pain

  1. electrical nerve stimulation 232x220 - Dallas Back Pain Talk: Knowing Your Back PainElectrical Nerve Stimulation – The secret behind using electrical nerve stimulation impulses isn’t far fetched, as we all know that the body itself is firing electrical impulses. Pain is an ‘unwanted-traveler-traveling-on-the-electrochemical-highway’. Blocking this unwanted traveler with electrical impulses seems to work for some people. A common example of electrical nerve stimulation is the TENS or the Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, which has been used for more than 30 years. TENS triggers the release of endorphins, the natural painkiller in the body. You can even purchase a TENS device at home.


Isn’t it nice to discover that there are a lot of options for back pain relief?
There are still many more options available that our clinic can offer, contact Pegasus Pain Management, today.

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