Are you experiencing serious back pain? Up to 8% of U.S. adults experience chronic back pain, so you’re not alone.
Back pain can be debilitating. Whether it’s short-term or long-term, it can get in the way of your day-to-day activities.
Did you know that there’s not just one type of back pain? That’s right. Back pain comes in two basic categories. We’re here to talk about them.
Keep reading to learn all about the types of back pain.
Inflammatory Back Pain
Inflammatory back pain is one of the two primary “types” of back pain.
Inflammatory back pain is associated with various types of spinal arthritis (otherwise known as spondyloarthritis). This pain tends to show up in the lower back or buttocks and it first appears when the patient is still young.
Most of the time, this pain will be most prevalent first thing in the morning and late at night. Gentle exercise and movement can alleviate this type of back pain.
Symptoms of inflammatory back pain tend to start slowly. Patients notice that the pain starts as a dull ache and then gets worse and turns into bad back pain over time.
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications and a pain relief patch are effective for inflammatory back pain, but they won’t fix the problem. They’ll alleviate the pain for short periods of time.
Inflammatory back pain is chronic and likely genetic.
Mechanical Back Pain
Mechanical back pain is more common than inflammatory back pain, and it’s what most people think of when they hurt their backs.
Unlike inflammatory back pain, injuries are often the cause of mechanical back pain. Various types of sports injuries and spinal cord injuries can cause this type of back pain.
If you fall, lift something too heavy, or even twist the wrong way when you’re doing some kind of physical activity, you can “tweak” your back. Most of the time, minor mechanical back pain that comes from small injuries like these will go away on its own. You can also relieve spinal pain at home if it’s not too serious.
Slipped or herniated disks will also cause mechanical back pain, though these will require medical intervention.
Poor posture can, in some cases, cause mechanical back pain. It’s important to stand up straight and use proper back support when you’re sitting so that your back muscles don’t have to work so hard to support you.
Scoliosis and osteoarthritis are conditions that can cause mechanical back pain. While arthritis often causes inflammatory back pain, osteoarthritis is an exception because it’s non-inflammatory.
If you have mechanical back pain, consulting with a physical therapist is a great choice. They can use methods like massage, exercise, and adjustment to help alleviate your pain.
Have You Experienced These Types of Back Pain?
Both of these types of back pain are serious. Whether you’re experiencing inflammatory back pain or mechanical back pain, it’s important that you seek medical help. Doctors and physical therapists can develop a treatment plan for you to alleviate some of your pain.
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