Our spine is under constant stress throughout the day. It supports the entire body and helps us maintain an upright posture. Unfortunately, different movements and stresses can cause injuries to the back over a number of years, culminating in back pain. It may be surprising to hear that nearly 8 out of 10 Americans currently suffer from some form of back pain. It can be debilitating and can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life.
There are a variety of different back problems and spinal conditions that can affect a person. Simple muscle aches and pains by themselves can be troublesome enough. More advanced conditions such as fractures and tumors require specialist investigations and multidisciplinary treatment approaches.
Broadly speaking, the back can be divided into an upper back, middle back and lower back. Commonly, patients suffer from lower back pain. However, there are conditions where the middle and the upper back can be affected. The spine also includes the neck, and this can be prone to a great deal of stress from constant movement. Spondylosis can affect any level of the spine and can severely restrict an individual’s movement. In elderly individuals, thinning of the bones and osteoporosis can make the spinal column prone to fractures from minimal trauma. This can make them bedbound and result in a complete loss of their independence and confidence.
The impact of spinal conditions that result in back pain can be tremendous. Not only can the diagnosis of certain causes of low back pain be life changing, it can reduce an individual’s confidence remarkably. Patients who have fallen down and injured their back find that it can take a long time for them to recover completely and feel confident when they are out walking.
The symptoms of back pain include not just back pain but also a variety of other clinical symptoms, such as tingling and numbness in the extremities, along with shooting or stabbing sensations as well. This can keep patients up at night and many a times simple painkillers may not be effective.
Managing Spinal Conditions
It is essential that all patients who suffer from any form of back pain see a licensed practitioner with experience in treating spinal conditions. Treatment options can vary from patient to patient and sometimes a multidisciplinary approach may need to be adopted. The ultimate goal of treatment is to reduce pain and restore quality of life.