Approximately 1 in 6 people in the UK experience back pain. It can be uncomfortable and debilitating, affecting your daily routine. When you have back pain, it can be difficult to diagnose it, as there are different types of back pain.
The pain may originate from anywhere in the spine and adjoining muscles. Also, the pain can vary drastically in intensity and frequency.
Having any type of back pain can be a warning sign of damage to your spine. If left untreated, it may lead to permanent spine or nerve damage. Getting rid of back pain means understanding the type of back pain you have before starting treatment.
Below is a guide to help you.
Flexion Dominant Back Pain
This type of back pain is often a result of a disc injury. You may experience symptoms like pain in your leg or spine. The pain may be worsened by bending, sitting, or lifting.
You may also experience tingling, loss of motion range, numbness, or leg weakness. For mild cases, the symptoms may go away after standing or walking for a while. But in severe cases, you may need physical therapy.
After a skilled examination, your physiotherapist may prescribe directional exercises/stretches to maintain your spinal range of motion and reduce pain. You may also need hands-on, manual therapy.
Extension Dominant Back Pain
Extension dominant back pain is often felt in the zygapophyseal joints that are at the back of the spine. It can be hard to identify this type of back pain since it follows an irregular pattern. Its symptoms include:
- Stiff back
- Pain in the middle and lower back after prolonged standing
- Intense back pain after high impact activities like sports
- Temporary pain relief when you sit or bend
- Localised spinal pain
- Mild tingling in your legs
If you suffer this type of pain, you may often stand with your lower back arched. Back pain treatment includes hip mobility stretches and specific abdominal stabilizing exercises to mitigate the pain.
Inflammatory Back Pain
You may have inflammatory back pain as a result of excessive inflammation in your spinal joints. The back pain causes include conditions like axial ankylosing spondylitis, enteropathic arthropathy, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, and more. The key symptoms of inflammatory back pain are:
- Early-onset (usually for individuals under 45 years old)
- A localised pain in your lower back or buttocks
- Pain that lasts more than 3 months
- Pain that occurs early in the morning or at night
You should get a professional diagnosis to ascertain the underlying cause of the inflammation before treating back pain. Performing gentle exercises can help you reduce this type of back pain.
Triggered by compressed nerves while standing or walking, neurogenic claudication often affects people above 60 years old. Its symptoms include numbness or weakness in the legs.
The symptoms only go away when you lean forward to ease off the pressure. As a patient with neurogenic claudication, you will often have reduced walking tolerance. Don’t try to train yourself to walk further, fighting through the pain.
Take frequent breaks to relax your nerves. You can also visit a physiotherapist to guide you through trunk muscle stability exercises and spinal flexion exercises to reduce sustained lumbar extension when walking.
Thoracic Back Pain
Thoracic back pain is inflammation of the muscles or soft tissues of your thoracic spine. This inflammation can occur due to:
- A sudden sprain or strain from a car accident or sports injury
- Standing or sitting in a slouched position over time
- Overusing a backpack
- Lack of muscular strength
- Overuse injury—repeating a movement continuously that involves the thoracic spine
When you have thoracic back pain, you may experience numbness, tingling, nerve pain in your lower body or leg, and severe back stiffness. You should consider chiropractic care to relieve the tension in your thoracic spine.
Middle Back Pain
Middle back pain occurs below your neck and above the bottom of your rib cage. When dealing with mid-back pain, you can feel tension or tightness in the centre of your back.
It may be caused by poor posture, muscle inflammation, strain from daily activities, or a past or recent injury. What’s more, pregnant women are more likely to suffer from middle back pain.
In cases of mid-back pain, you may experience stiffness, tingling, numbness, or weakness in your legs. To treat this type of back pain, you should consider seeing a physiotherapist. They can come up with an exercise programme to strengthen the muscles in your back and improve your posture.
Radicular Back Pain
Caused by pinching nerve roots or the degeneration of the disc, radicular pain affects your lower back. With this type of back pain, you may experience a sharp shooting pain that starts in your lower back and travels down into one or both legs. You may also experience tingling and numbness in your legs.
Since most cases of radicular back pain can be self-limiting, you need to start on a physiotherapy-led exercise program to improve your core strength and posture. It can also offer back pain relief.
Chronic Back Pain Disorders
Chronic back pain disorders are challenging to handle. They often trick your nervous system into interpreting the stimuli that aren’t normally harmful to the body, causing the brain to treat it as painful.
What’s more, this type of back pain doesn’t stick to typical anatomic boundaries. It can migrate to other body parts over time. It’s usually age-related but can also result from a prior injury.
Some common causes include:
- Myofascial pain syndrome: Unexplained muscle pain and tenderness
- Arthritis of the spine: The gradual thinning of the cartilage inside the spine
- Disc problems: Such as a herniated or bulging disc
- Spinal stenosis: Narrowing of the spinal canal that may lead to nerve pain
Physical therapy exercises can be tailored to your specific chronic back symptoms and condition to help offer relief.
Get Rid of All Types of Back Pain Fast
Need effective back pain? Look no further than SpineCentral. Since there are different types of back pain, we’ll assess your back for an accurate diagnosis before beginning our modern chiropractic treatments. Get started today for a pain-free back.