Chronic back pain is typically described as deep, aching, dull or burning pain in one area of the back and/or traveling down into the legs. Some patients may even experience numbness, tingling, burning, or “pins-and-needles” sensation in the legs, that pain is called radiculopathy. This type of pain tends to last a long time and may not be relieved by standard types of medical management. There are many different conditions that may contribute to a patient’s low back pain. These include bulging disc, sciatica, spinal degeneration, spinal stenosis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia or spondyliitis. As people age, bone strength and muscle elasticity and tone tend to decrease. The discs begin to lose fluid and flexibility, which decreases their ability to cushion the vertebrae. If the spine becomes overly strained or compressed, a disc may rupture or bulge outward. In doing this, the disc may put pressure on one of more of the nerves rooted to the spinal cord that transmit signals from the body to the brain. When these nerves become compressed or irritated, back pain results.
Some minor back pain can be treated easily at home with the use of hot and/or cold compresses and over-the-counter medications. Should that pain persist, patients are always advised to see a physician.
After a thorough medical history and physical exam, your doctor may order a series of studies in order to determine the exact cause of your pain. Imaging studies, such as an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI can help the physician to better examine your pain condition. Depending on your pain, your physician may recommend physical therapy, medication, spinal manipulations, acupuncture, biofeedback, interventional therapy, and/or electrical nerve stimulation. Along with the patient, the doctors at Pain Treatment Centers of Illinois will determine the best possible treatments to maximize results.