Back Pain – What is Axial Back Pain?

Axial back pain is the most common type of low back pain. It is usually non-specific – meaning that the anatomical structure responsible for the pain need not be identified because symptoms are usually self limited and resolve. Unlike other low back issues, this type of pain does not travel into the buttock, legs and feet, or other areas of the body. Axial back pain can vary widely from sharp or dull pain, constant or intermittent pain, or mild to severe pain.Following are characteristics of axial back pain:
Low back pain that gets worse with certain activities, such as certain sports.

Low back pain that gets worse with certain positions, such as sitting for long periods.

Low back pain that is relieved by rest.
An exact diagnosis as to which structure is causing the low back pain rarely has significance to treatment. Further evaluation is only necessary when the pain is severe and chronic. A variety of structures in the lower back can cause axial or mechanical lower back pain, such as a degenerated disc, facet joints problems, and damage to soft tissues – muscles, ligaments, and tendons – and it is often difficult to identify which anatomical structure(s) is the underlying cause of the pain.As a general rule of thumb, if your back pain is bad enough that it wakes you up from deep sleep, you should consult a physician to rule out possible serious conditions, such as an infection, tumor or fracture.Treatment for axial back pain is conservative (not requiring surgery). Treatment may include one or a combination of the following:
A short period of rest (e.g. one or two days)

Physical therapy and active exercise and stretching

Ice and/or heat application for activity related pain relief

Appropriate medications for pain relief

About 90 percent of patients with axial low back pain recover within six weeks. If axial
low back pain persists for more than six to eight weeks, then additional testing and/or injections may be useful in diagnosing and treating the source of the pain.

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Treating Back Pain Correctly

Most of us will experience pain in the back at some point in our lives and about 90% of those people will heal on their own within a few weeks. When a patient presents to a doctor with back pain there are many different options the doctor has to treat the patient that are non-surgical. An exercise program and medication should be one of the first methods of pain management. Americans are spending about $86 billion a year to get relief from back pain. They will subject themselves to having MRIs, taking pain medication, having nerve blocks administered and acupuncture.What are the Causes for Back Pain?There is no one cause for this type of painn. Arthritis, osteoporosis, disks can become damaged or rupture causing the gel-like center to leak and put pressure on the nerves. Another reason for back pain can be cause by a vertebra slipping out of alignment and stenosis (this is when the spinal canal narrows). These conditions do not necessarily require operations. Actually experts say that only about 10% of people with chronic pain are actually good candidates for surgery.What are some of the Options for Dealing with type of Pain?According to information taken from an article written by Lauren Neergaard AP Medical Writer titled “Back Pain Widely Overtreated in US”; there are a few things that should be considered when choosing your options of dealing with pain in the back:1. Back pain is a wide spread problem in the United States and it is costing people billions of dollars in healthcare. There is no one “proven” treatment for everyone. Each person is different and the type of treatment that works for each will vary. You and your physician should work together to evaluate your symptoms and come up with alternatives to surgeries.2. Time is most often the best cure there is for back pain. Most people will heal on their own within just a few weeks. It is not a good idea to have any kind of X-ray or MRI unless the pain continues for at least a month. These scans can actually be misleading for middle aged people due to the slight degeneration of disks. Being able to actually pinpoint what abnormality on a scan actually means is a little tricky to determine.3. “Exercise is medicine, but it has to be the right exercise.” Exercises must be focused on strengthening the muscles that support the spine. These exercises should be designed and supervised by a trained physical therapist in order for them to be effective. The proper exercise can be very beneficial as long as the patient is able to manage through the pain.4. Anyone facing the possibility of back surgery should always get a second opinion.5. The patients’ ability to work through the pain and get back to normal activities as quickly as possible will have a huge advantage when it comes to a faster recovery.Are We “Over-Treating” the Pain Epidemic?After reading Ms. Neergaard’s article “Back Pain Widely Overtreated in the US”; it will become clear to you that even our most advanced technologies and sophisticated surgical procedures are not solving the back pain problem. And to make it even worse, Americans are spending billions of dollars and not getting the desired results. Back pain is a very complex issue and there is no one “proven” cure for everyone.1. With healthcare costs in America sky-rocketing and the number of back pain cases increasing; what can be done? Ms. Neergaard’s article may lead some to think about whether we are “over-treating” the back pain problem. Or, are we just not treating it correctly by using the wrong treatments for the wrong patients?2. There are many different factors that contribute to this epidemic in our society today. A lot of people experience pain in the back due to their lifestyle choices and the way we manage our overall health in general. Wouldn’t it be best to incorporate preventative measures before we begin to suffer from pain? Talk with your doctor and let him or her help you come up with the proper exercise routine and nutrition program that works for your particular lifestyle.Consider Incorporating the help of a ChiropractorAnother possible option of dealing with back pain to avoid surgery is to visit a Doctor of Chiropractic. Chiropractors are specially trained to treat conditions of the musculoskeletal system and the supporting nerves. Research has proven that manipulative therapy and spinal manipulation are not only safe but they are effective ways of treating back pain. In a lot of cases, Chiropractors can produce much quicker results and are much more affordable than some of the other alternatives.A Chiropractor can help a person design an exercise program that will work for them and their particular lifestyle. They can also help them develop a nutrition program. Having proper nutrition and following some type of exercise program goes a long way in preventing illness and promotes better overall health. So, when you begin to experience back pain; consider consulting a Chiropractor instead of your primary doctor. He or she may be able to alleviate your pain without having to turn to medication and/or surgical procedures.References: MSN Pain Center Back Pain Widely Overtreated in US by Lauran Neergaard AP Medical Writer for the Associated Press June 8, 2010 Accessed October 7, 2010.

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