Did you know that about 65 million adults have reported experiencing an episode of back pain, and 16 million of those same adults have reported symptoms of chronic back pain? If you’re experiencing back pain that lasts longer than a few weeks and has steadily present symptoms, you may be one of the many adults who experience this kind of condition.
Chronic back pain is very common but can place a significant burden on your quality of life. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may find normal daily activities, such as walking, taking out the trash or even sitting for long periods of time, to be very difficult.
There are many causes of chronic back pain, ranging from natural degeneration of the spine to workplace injury. Fortunately, most causes of back pain can be treated with physical therapy. Take a moment to review the causes, symptoms and treatment options available to you if you are experiencing chronic back pain, and then find a location near you to schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists.
Symptoms of chronic back pain
While everyone experiences symptoms differently, most people report one or more of the following symptoms associated with back pain:
- Dull ache in the lower back.
- Sharp, stabbing pain during certain movements.
- Pain, tingling or numbness in the closest extremity.
- Trouble standing for long periods of time.
- Limited flexibility in the spine.
In some cases of lower back pain, a person may experience sciatica. Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, and it runs from the lower back, down the buttocks, and into each leg. Compression of this nerve could include the following symptoms:
- Low back pain that radiates down the leg.
- Leg pain with burning and tingling.
- Numbness in the leg or feet.
- Continual pain on one side of the buttock.
- Sharp pain.
- Trouble sitting and getting up.
Sciatica is often able to be treated with physical therapy. However, continuing in pain without seeking treatment could make your symptoms worse and, over time, may lead to spine surgery as the only effective treatment option. It’s important not to let these symptoms go without seeking physical therapy.
Causes of chronic back pain
Back pain can be caused by a number of things, including simply aging. Because the back is responsible for carrying the weight of the upper body and stabilizing the body during movement, certain lifestyle habits can cause the spine to undergo more pressure and break down faster than normal. Such lifestyle habits may include:
- Carrying excess weight, especially in the abdominal region.
- Dehydration, i.e., not drinking enough water throughout the day.
Additionally, back pain may be triggered by one of these conditions:
- Degenerative disc disease.
- Spinal stenosis.
- Herniated discs.
- Muscle tears.
Fortunately, these causes can all be addressed through physical therapy, if you are proactive about seeking treatment. Chronic back pain does not get better on its own; it gets worse with time. Physical therapy has been proved to drastically reduce the symptoms associated with back pain and help patients avoid the need for back surgery in the future.
Treatment options for chronic back pain
Chronic back pain can be treated through physical therapy modalities, such as:
- Manual therapy.
- Strength and flexibility exercises.
- Work conditioning (SMART program).
- Dry needling.
- Many more!
If you’re ready to stop living your life shadowed by lower back pain, find a location near you to schedule an appointment. Take the next step toward living a healthier, more active life.