Types of Back Pain

By May 19, 2021Blog
Types of Back Pain

Approximately 80 percent of people suffer from back pain at a point in their lives, and yet getting the right treatment with a right healthcare provider can be quite challenging. Anytime a big percentage of the population suffers from an illness, you can be sure an entire economy would pop up purporting to address the issue.

For this reason, there is a lot of misinformation out there about the ‘unique’ or ‘new’ techniques to cure different types of back pain. Note that the term ‘cure’ is deceptive and misleading and might leave some patients disenchanted and frustrated with their treatment progress. But with the right treatment approach, you can manage back pain effectively and reduce or eliminate its negative effect on your life. If you’re looking for the right treatment for your back pain, consider contacting chiropractor in Ajax and Pickering at CP Health.

Most of the widely marketed back pain solutions often treat this health condition as one diagnosis. In fact, many professional healthcare providers unanimously agree that the term ‘back pain’ isn’t a diagnosis. It is a description of symptoms. Treating all patients that complain of back pain with the same medication is similar to prescribing antibiotics to everyone with abdominal pain. This is because there are different types of back pain. These include:

1. Flexion dominant back pain

This type of back pain is often described in terms of injuries to the disc, although this isn’t always the case. The symptoms of flexion dominant back pain include:

  • The pain is made worse by lifting, sitting, and bending
  • Pain and other symptoms often improve after walking or standing for short periods
  • Leg pain, spine pain or both
  • You may experience numbness or tingling
  • Sometimes the symptoms can progress to leg weakness
  • Sometimes feeling pain when sneezing or coughing (not always)
  • Difficulty in straightening up, particularly after sitting (loss of range of motion)

Effective medical care for this type of back pain includes professionally directed stretches or exercises performed at intervals throughout the day to maintain the spinal range of motion to alleviate the pain. Such physical activities could reduce back pain and help you feel more flexible and relaxed. Remember, a trained physiotherapist should determine the specific stretches or exercises that best address your back condition.

Once the pain settles down, your physiotherapist can help you understand the main cause of the problem and the necessary lifestyle changes you must make.

2. Extension dominant back pain

This refers to the pain of the joints at the back of your spine, known as zygapophyseal or Z-joints. Extension dominant back pain often follows an identifiable pattern with the following symptoms:

  • Severe or mild pain after standing for an extended period
  • Temporary relief from bending or sitting
  • Stable range of motion, which doesn’t change in short periods
  • Pain following high-impact activities such as running
  • Localized spinal pain
  • Tingling, leg pain, and numbness, particularly in severe cases

An experienced physiotherapist can help you create a reliable care plan to alleviate extension-dominant back pain. Generally, the treatment plan must focus on reducing the pressure exerted on your spine in extension. Most people who suffer from extension-dominant back pain often stand with their lower backs arched.

Specific hip mobility stretches and abdominal stabilizing exercises can be an effective way to address this type of pain. Intermittently using various flexed postures can help alleviate the pain. Other pain-relieving techniques include manual therapy and acupuncture, which must be guided by an experienced physiotherapist.

3. Neurogenic claudication

This is a specific type of extension-dominant pain that affects people who are 60 years or older. It is caused by compressed nerves, particularly when you are standing or walking. Neurogenic claudication can limit your ability to walk for longer distances. The common symptoms of this type of back pain include:

  • No symptoms when sitting
  • Pain, weakness, or numbness in the legs when you rise and walk for a predictable period (this period depends on the severity of your condition)
  • Many patients battling neurogenic claudication don’t report local spine pain
  • When the symptoms start, you must bend forward or sit to minimize the symptoms

In fact, some patients lean over a shopping cart, for instance, so that they can easily alleviate the pain that radiates to the legs. For patients with acute neurogenic claudication, their walking tolerance is significantly reduced, which is why they take frequent breaks to allow the affected nerves to recover. Such patients require various flexion-based stretches and other relevant postures or exercises. Also, they should temporarily minimize the distance they walk every day.

As the symptoms of neurogenic claudication decrease, exercises that reduce pelvic exterior tilt, particularly when standing, can be helpful. Keep in mind that trying to fight through the pain or training yourself to walk further is like adding more fuel to the fire. Work with an experienced physiotherapist to create an effective exercise plan that won’t worsen the symptoms.

4. Inflammatory back pain

Generally, inflammatory back pain is less common compared to mechanical back pain. However, it is often misdiagnosed. It is caused by severe inflammation in your spinal joints, secondary to any medical condition, causing your immune to attack the spine joints. Ankylosing spondylitis is an example of a health condition that could cause severe inflammation and back pain. The common symptoms of this type of back pain include:

  • The onset of pain is common in patients under 35 years and not because of trauma
  • The pain may persist for three months or more
  • Back stiffness and pain may worsen with immobility, particularly in the morning and at night
  • The back stiffness and pain tend to ease with gentle exercises and physical activity
  • Anti-inflammatory medications are effective in relieving this type of back pain

Accumulating scientific evidence suggests that turmeric can be an effective natural remedy for inflammatory back pain because it has anti-inflammatory properties.

5. Chronic pain disorders

Any pain disorder involving back pain is a challenging condition for healthcare professionals to treat. Your nervous system may be interpreting stimuli not normally harmful or painful to your body as dangerous. That means your brain will treat it as painful. This is a complicated situation that requires a profound understanding of the patient’s medical history and what may have caused this issue.

With each category of back pain discussed above, there’s no one-size-fits-all remedy. So, consult with a skilled physiotherapist to diagnose and create a treatment plan that addresses the specific causes.