If you are currently experiencing back pain, you’re not alone. Back pain is one of the most common causes of discomfort in the United States. The specialized team of pain management nurses and doctors at the Pain Center at Kansas Spine can help diagnose the underlying source of your back pain and get you on track for a tailored treatment plan.
Back pain can occur in your lower, middle or upper back, and can also affect your muscles, tendons, ligaments or bones. Read more about the various causes of back pain below, as well as the treatments our team can provide to help you find relief.
Common causes of lower back pain
- Arthritis: Low back pain is frequently caused by arthritis in the small joints of the lower spine. Spinal arthritis, otherwise known as osteoarthritis, is the result of a breakdown of the cartilage between the joints and vertebral discs. The best treatment for osteoarthritis of the lower back is the use of nerve blocks, which are effective in inhibiting the pain signals from these joints.
- Nerve Inflammation: Back pain can also be caused by irritation of the nerves due to inflammation. Pain can occur in the upper back or, more commonly, in the lower back. Unlike with other forms of back pain where pain subsides after rest, back pain due to inflammation usually worsens with rest, resulting in pain at night or first thing in the morning. One of the most beneficial treatments for patients suffering from nerve inflammation is an epidural steroid injection around the irritated nerve to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
- Neuropathy: Many people suffer from an overactivity of the nerves in the back, which then sends faulty pain signals to the brain. This overactivity is caused by damage to the nerves, often as a result of trauma or injury. Other causes of neuropathy include hereditary factors; conditions that impinge on nerves, such as a herniated disc; and complex pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia. Spinal cord stimulation is the latest technology used to treat neuropathy, relieving pain and allowing patients to get back to the activities they enjoy.
- Sciatica: Sciatica is another common cause of lower back pain, where a compression or impingement of nerves in the back can result in shooting pain down the leg. Click here for more information on sciatica pain and treatment options available here at the Pain Center.
Common causes of upper back pain
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome: Myofascial Pain Syndrome is a chronic pain disorder affected by sensitive spots in soft tissue, often referred to as “muscle knots” or “trigger points.” These trigger points can be a result of injury, stress or a secondary result of another condition. For those suffering from myofascial pain syndrome, the muscle pain is persistent and can result in muscle sensitivity; weak or inflexible muscles; reduced range of motion; and even sleep or mood disorders. Conservative treatments include stretching, massage, heat and medication. An effective interventional pain management technique for myofascial pain is trigger point injections. Trigger point injections are performed within our clinic as an outpatient procedure. A small amount of anesthetic or steroid is injected directly into the tight muscle to alleviate the pain.
- Poor posture: Poor posture can lead to loss of strength and, ultimately, upper back pain. Slouching deconditions the muscles and ligaments in the upper back over time and can cause discomfort if not addressed. It is possible to strengthen the muscles with exercises and physical therapy, which improve posture and can alleviate upper back pain.
- Muscle overuse: A common source of pain in the upper back, muscle overuse caused by repetitive motions can lead to muscle tightness, irritation and strains. Lifting heavy objects also may result in upper back pain or strained muscles. For many patients, an injection guided by ultrasound and delivered directly to the muscle can provide pain relief.
How the Pain Center can help
We provide a comprehensive approach to pain management, offering diagnostic and treatment services on one campus. The range of services we provide for lower and upper back pain includes:
- Pain Management
- Surgical Treatment
- Physical Therapy
When back pain prevents us from working, taking care of family, socializing and enjoying the things we love, it’s time to find solutions. Our pain management doctors at the Pain Center are dedicated to finding the source of your pain, identifying the best treatment plan for you and getting you back to doing the things you love.
If back pain has impacted your life, ask your doctor about the Pain Center at Kansas Spine & Specialty Hospital, or call 316-462-5072.