Two primary causes of back pain: muscle strain and herniated discs
- What Are the Symptoms of Back Pain?
- Back Pain Symptoms
- Chronic Back Pain
- Chronic Back Pain Symptoms
- Severe Chronic Back Pain
- Chronic Upper Back Pain
- Upper Back Pain Symptoms
- Upper Back Pain Types
- Chronic Middle Back Pain
- Chronic Low Back Pain
- Lower Back Pain Symptoms
- Acute Back Pain
- Acute & Chronic Back Pain
- What Should I Do If I Think I Have Back Pain?
- Back Pain Treatment
- Keyhole Spine Surgery Options at Laser Spine Institute
- Is Spinal Fusion Surgery Your Only Option?
- Chronic Back Pain Treatment
- Chronic Back Pain Management
- Back Pain Acupuncture
- Injections for Back Pain
- Back Pain Physical Therapy
- Back Pain Exercises
- Back Pain Surgery
- Upper Back Pain Treatment
- Upper Back Pain Exercises
- Lower Back Pain Treatment
- Lower Back Pain Causes and Treatments
- Acupuncture Low Back Pain
- Low Back Pain Chiropractic
- Low Back Pain Physical Therapy
- Lower Back Pain Exercises
- Low Back Pain Stretches
- Yoga Low Back Pain
- Alternative Treatments
- Risk Factors
Back pain is a symptom of many different conditions, ranging from a strained muscle to a degenerative spine condition such as a herniated disc.
Many conditions resulting in back pain have similar sets of symptoms, which can sometimes make diagnosis difficult. Two of the most common underlying causes of back pain are muscle strain and disc herniation. However, before you move forward with treatments for these conditions, schedule an appointment with your doctor for a more accurate diagnosis.
Back pain caused by a muscle strain
Muscle strain can occur in the back through overuse, improper use or trauma. When overstretched, these soft tissues can develop microscopic tears. This type of injury is usually characterized by localized discomfort that can range from mild to severe depending on the severity of the tear and if it causes any nerve compression.
Once a diagnosis is confirmed, a lumbar strain is usually treated with some of the following methods:
- Short periods of rest
- Avoiding high-impact activities
- Pain relievers or anti-inflammatories
- Heat applications and cold compression
Your physician should always approve and monitor any treatment for back pain to ensure you are not irritating the condition and worsening the symptoms.
Back pain caused by a herniated disc
Back pain can also result from nerve compression caused by a damaged disc in the spine. With age, the spinal discs lose elasticity. This makes them more prone to damage from normal activity or traumatic injury. When this happens, the outer disc wall can rupture, and allow some of the gel-like nucleus to be pushed out. Nerve endings in the disc wall can become inflamed and cause pain if they come into contact with the nucleus material. Additionally, a herniated disc can come into contact with the spinal cord or nearby nerve root. The resulting nerve pressure can cause local or radiating pain, numbness or muscle weakness.
Treatment options for a herniated disc can range from conservative management to surgery. Specific conservative options include:
- Hot and cold therapy
- Lifestyle changes like quitting smoking or starting a weight management program
- Medications to relieve pain and muscle spasms
- Epidural steroid injections
- Physical therapy
Surgery for a herniated disc
Minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute may become an option when more conservative treatments for back pain have been exhausted. By using muscle-sparing techniques that allow for an outpatient procedure, our minimally invasive procedures offer a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.^
To learn more, contact Laser Spine Institute today. Our dedicated team can help you receive a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.