If you struggle with back pain, you’re not alone. Nearly 65 million Americans have had a recent episode of back pain — and around 16 million have chronic back pain.
Back pain often develops suddenly and sometimes without a direct cause, which can be frustrating. That’s why Dr. Raul Lopez and our team at the West Texas Pain Institute carefully evaluate your symptoms to uncover the true cause of your back pain.
Here’s what you should know about the most common causes of back pain and what you can do about them.
A complex network of muscles and ligaments surrounding your spine works hard to support your upper body. If you make a sudden, awkward movement or attempt to lift a heavy object, you can easily strain the muscles and connective tissues in your back, triggering painful muscle spasms.
The discs of soft material in between each vertebra act as your spine’s built-in protection system. They absorb shock and support your spinal cord as you move. When your discs rupture or bulge, they put pressure on the nerves in your spine.
This type of back injury can stem from a variety of factors, including gradual, age-related degeneration or sudden injury.
Arthritis is a common disease that impacts your bone and joint health. When osteoarthritis—the most common type of arthritis—develops in your spine, it can narrow the space around your spinal cord, squeezing the nerves running through your spine. This painful condition is known as spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis occurs most often in the lower back and the neck.
Osteoporosis is another aggressive condition that weakens your bones. Over time, your bones become increasingly brittle and vulnerable to painful breaks and fractures.
#5 Lifestyle factors
In some cases, back pain stems from certain lifestyle factors that put extra stress on your back. Some common bad habits that negatively impact your back include:
- Bad posture
- Being overweight
- Lack of physical activity
- Wearing high heels
- Increased age
Some even believe there’s a link between your emotions and your back health. For example, stress, depression, and anxiety lead to added strain and muscle tension in your back.
How we can help
Your back may be one of the largest parts of your anatomy, but it’s also one of the most vulnerable. For that reason, we provide only the best and most advanced treatments to help you recover from back pain.
We begin by conducting a thorough review of your symptoms, health history, and treatment goals. We may order imaging tests, such as X-rays and MRIs, to completely understand your unique situation. Depending on your needs, we may recommend the following treatments:
- Regenerative medicine
- Stem cell therapy
- Epidural injections
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Spinal cord stimulation
All of our treatments are minimally invasive. They address the underlying cause of your back pain and deliver quick, lasting relief from your symptoms.
Other back pain management strategies
In addition to advanced treatments, we also walk you through a few simple strategies that work in conjunction with your treatment and help you prevent back pain in the future. Some of the best ways to support your back include:
- Getting regular exercise
- Building your back strength
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Quitting smoking
- Improving your posture
Back pain is a frustrating and overwhelming burden to live with — so don’t go it alone. Dr. Lopez is ready to help you get started on your journey towards a pain-free life. Call or click to request an appointment at our El Paso, Texas, office today.