Back pain or backache is the pain felt in the back that may originate from damage to the muscles, nerves, bones, joints or other structures in the spine. Back pain is one of the most common medical problems experienced by most people at some time in their life. It can be acute, usually lasting from a few days to a few weeks, or chronic, lasting for more than three months.
Back pain can occur as a dull constant pain or a sudden sharp pain. It may be confined to one area or radiate to other areas such as the arm and hand, upper or lower back, and leg or foot.
Other than pain you may experience weakness, numbness or tingling in your arms or legs caused by damage to the spinal cord.
Athletes participating in sports such as skiing, basketball, football, ice skating, soccer, running, golf or tennis are at a greater risk of developing back pain. During these sports activities, the spine needs to bear more stress, take up more pressure, undergo twisting and turning, as well as bodily impact. This may cause strain on the back that can result in back pain. Athletes are at a high risk of back pain both from trauma and from overuse injuries, especially in sports requiring hyperextension.
The common causes of back pain in athletes include:
- Musculoligamentous strain: It is the most common sports injury caused by injury to the soft tissues around the spine.
- Spondylolysis: It is most commonly found in athletes who participate in sports such as gymnastics, pole-vaulting, and football. All these activities require frequent hyperextension of the lumbar spine.
- Spondylolisthesis: It is a condition of the spine that occurs when one vertebra is displaced or has slipped forward over the other below it.
- Herniated nucleus pulposus: When an injury occurs, the central core of the disc is pushed through a tear in the outer hard layer of the disc, causing a bulge and pressure on nearby nerves. If the herniated disc presses on a spinal nerve, it can cause back pain.
Other causes include growth-related problems such as scoliosis and Scheuermann's kyphosis.
Dr. Vengurlekar will diagnose back pain by reviewing your history and symptoms and examining your spine. A complete examination includes the examination of the signs of unusual curves of the spine, rib hump, tilted pelvis and tilting of the shoulders, and a test of your sensations. Other diagnostic tests may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
The treatment for back pain is usually non-surgical and includes:
- Anti-inflammatory medications or NSAIDs are recommended to provide relief from pain.
- Cold packs, heat packs or both, applied to your back will help ease much of the discomfort and relieve stiffness as well the pain.
- Sleeping with the pillow between the knees while lying on one side or placing the pillow under your knees when lying on your back may help relieve back pain.
- Exercises to strengthen your trunk and back muscles may be recommended.
These measures help to relieve your back pain; however, in certain conditions, the pain may not be resolved and may require surgical treatment. Dr. Vengurlekar will decide on the appropriate surgery based on several factors.
With large populations spending long periods of time in offices, improper sitting has caused Scottsdale Pain Management Expert Dr. Sham Vengurlekar to treat an increasingly growing number of patients suffering from serious back pain. Although major treatment might be required after years of practicing unhealthy habits, it is possible to make adjustments to posture as soon as possible to avoid back pain in the future.
Back pain is debilitating. It can leave even the toughest people bed-ridden, unable to make a living and provide for their families. As the wave of the baby boomer generation crashes against the shores of retirement and golden age, more people every day are searching for solutions. Top pain management doctor Dr. Sham Vengurlekar, Scottsdale’s premiere pain specialist, has spent more than three decades treating patients with a variety of debilitating pain-related ailments and specializes in back pain.