What is recurrent back pain?
Back pain is the discomfort experienced by patients in any of the regions of the back (lower, middle, upper) which may be acute or chronic. Depending on the cause, the pain may also affect the limbs, and may manifest additional symptoms such as paresthesia, and weakness in the extremities. Recurrent back pain is that discomfort in the back which manifests in cycles, typically characterized by pain episodes manifesting every after a few months of pain-free intervals.
What causes recurrent back pain?
There are many structures in the back – the vertebral column and its supporting structures, the spinal cord and the surrounding nerves, the visceral organs of the endocrine and digestive systems, the muscles and ligaments of the back, which support the torso, enable humans to stand upright, and carry out essential functions. All of these structures are susceptible to infection, irritation, as well as normal wearing out due to constant use. Consequently, conditions affecting any of all these structures may activate pain sensors responsible for manifesting recurrent back pain symptoms. These conditions vary in severity, from simple positional matters to more severe spinal cord irritation and cancer. Some of the common causes of recurrent back pain include:
- physical strain (e.g. sitting or lifting positions)
- disc degeneration
- spinal fracture
- alignment problems (e.g. scoliosis)
- malignant growth
- spinal arthritis
- referred pain from visceral organ disorders
How can recurrent back pain be treated?
A wide variety of treatment modalities are available to patients with recurrent back pain. Depending on the primary cause, you may be put on a treatment plan that includes physical therapy, lifestyle changes, medications, interventional treatments, or surgery, as necessary. If you experience recurrent back pain, it is advisable to talk to your doctor about it, so a complete evaluation may be done and an appropriate treatment plan given as applicable. So how do we go about treating back pain? Some of the options include:
- physical therapy – physical manipulations including massage and stretches that aim to help ease muscle and alignment strain
- chiropractic care – physical manipulations focused on improving spinal alignment and on strengthening structures of the back
- anti-inflammatory drugs – oral medication that deals with pain-causing irritation in either the joints, nerves, or the internal organs proximate to the back
- pain relief medication – oral medication that interrupts normal pain signaling so as to minimize recurrent back pain
- thermal therapy – the use of hot or cold compress to ease strain and relax the structures in the back
- nerve stimulations – electrical manipulations that disrupt the normal signaling in the nerves of the back so as to prevent them from communicating too much pain
- spinal injections – nerve blocks and epidural injections aimed to also minimize pain by interrupting the nerves through direct delivery of anesthetic and steroidal agents
- spinal surgery – corrective invasive procedures that improve support in the back, as in replacing support structures for worn out tissue in spinal discs
Where can I find a doctor for recurrent back pain?
Whatever the cause is, recurrent back pain can keep you from your daily functions. Do you need a doctor who knows how to treat back pain really well? Dr. Kevin Li, MD, a pain management specialist practicing in Los Angeles, may just be the doctor you need. Dr. Li’s unparalleled experience in treating patients with recurrent back pain over the last decade, as well as his double-board certification and training guarantees you only the best care for your back. Call his L.A. clinic at (626) 538 – 8950 today for your appointment, so you can get back to being pain-free!