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Common causes of back pain and how to find relief

Back Pain

As a spine surgeon, I often see patients who suffer from back pain. While there are many causes of back pain, it's important to know that relief is possible. In this blog post, I will discuss some common causes of back pain and how to find relief. If you are experiencing back pain, please continue reading to learn more.

Common Causes of Back Pain

1. Poor Posture: Poor posture can cause strain on your back muscles and spine, leading to pain. It's important to maintain good posture when sitting, standing, and walking.

2. Muscle Strain: Lifting heavy objects or sudden movements can cause muscle strain, resulting in back pain.

3. Herniated Disc: A herniated disc occurs when the outer layer of the disc is damaged and tears, causing the inner layer to protrude. The leakage of disc material from the tear can lead to regional inflammation and pain but the disc can also put pressure on the nerves in your back, leading to leg pain (sciatica).

Back Pain


4. Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that can affect the spine. This can cause pain and stiffness in the back. It is a form of wear and tear often referred to as spondylosis. This causes pain in the joints of the spine that is referred to the adjacent muscles.

5. Spinal Stenosis: Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal narrows, putting pressure on the nerves in your back. This can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs but often I the back as well.

Finding Relief for Back Pain. Most acute episodes of back pain will settle within 6-8 weeks without intervention, but the following measures will help.

1. Exercise: Regular exercise can help strengthen your back muscles and improve your posture. It's important to start with gentle exercises and gradually increase intensity. We recognise that this is challenging when you are in pain so some of the measures below can help you get started. To start with, exercise under the instruction of a physiotherapist is advised (see physical therapy below).

2. Heat and Cold Therapy: Applying heat or cold to the affected area can help reduce pain and inflammation. It's important to use caution when applying heat or cold, as excessive use can cause damage to your skin.

Back Pain


3. Manual Therapy: This is often carried out by one of our osteopathy or chiropractic partners. I often advise this with caution, which is why the above practitioners do this under my oversight (often with the review of a scan), to avoid worsening of a disc prolapse and nerve compression. When done in the right circumstances, however, this can be effective in alleviating acute pain so you can engage in physiotherapy and exercise thereafter.

4. Medications: Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can help reduce pain and inflammation. Prescription medications may be necessary for more severe cases.

5. Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can help strengthen your back muscles and improve your posture. Your physical therapist may also recommend specific exercises to relieve your back pain.

6. Injections: Pain specialists can perform injections such as epidural injections or nerve blocks to help relieve back pain. I often work with one of my partners in pain medicine to help identify a target on your scan for this treatment.

At The Spine MDT, our mission is to find the least invasive treatment that offers the longest lasting result for our patients. We understand that every patient is unique, and we work closely with our affiliate partners in physiotherapy, osteopathy, and chiropractic care to provide personalized treatment plans. We also offer one-price packages of care between ourselves and these professionals, ensuring their treatment is under our oversight and aligns with our core value of responsibility. Our goal is to prevent repeat treatments where the problem keeps recurring, and in some cases, a minimally invasive operation may be the best option for our patients' unique needs.

If you are experiencing back pain, please don't hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you find relief and get back to the activities you enjoy.

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