It is among the most common ailments there is, and one that 9 out of 10 Americans will experience at some point during their lifetimes; back pain. It can range from simple stiffness due to sitting in an unusual position, to a chronic problem resulting from trauma, or even a genetic condition. But whatever the cause, each year complaints about back pain are among the top five reasons people in the United States seek medical treatment and advice.
The good news for back pain sufferers is that it is generally a condition that responds well to non-invasive treatments, as well as preventative techniques to reduce future occurrences. As a result of advances in understanding and treating back problems, many patients report that non-surgical procedures targeting the structural causes of symptoms, such as the disc rehydration option used at the Illinois Back Institute, offer long term relief without the need for painful operations or injections.
Types of Back Conditions
Most specialists’ first approach treating back pain by evaluating which specific area of the back is being affected. For this reason, doctors divide back problems into one of several classifications. Typically, back pain is evaluated as:
- Neck pain – sometimes referred to as cervical pain, frequently caused by muscular tightness in the upper back and neck, and pressure on nerves in the in the vertebrae of the spinal column.
- Middle back – known as thoracic pain, usually felt from the bottom of the neck area to just above the lower back.
- Lower back pain – also commonly called lumbago, this is the most common type of pain reported each year, affecting roughly 80% of back pain sufferers.
Each of these conditions can result in symptoms, which can last from a few hours to months, and even years in some cases. Depending on the length of time a patient has been experiencing pain, the condition can be viewed as acute (up to 4 weeks), subacute (4 – 12 weeks), or chronic, for longer lasting episodes.
Treatment centers, like the Illinois Back Institute, have made significant advances over recent years in understanding how each of these conditions arises. This increased understanding has gone a long way toward helping these back professionals to devise effective, non-invasive treatment options that patients report are increasingly bringing them relief, and a return to normal functioning.
Causes of Back Pain
Back pain can be the result of a wide number of problems that range from accidents and falls, to symptoms arising as the result degenerative conditions of the spine and surrounding muscles. Some of the primary factors leading to most common types of back problems are:
- Bulging Disc - results from a vertebral disc slipping out of place
- Stenosis – this is a narrowing of either the spinal canal, or of the areas where nerves leave the spinal column
- Sciatica – caused by irritation, or compression, to one of the nerve roots that lead to this large spinal nerve
- Herniated disc – also called a rupture disc, this condition results from a breakdown of the cushioning material between the individual vertebrae, resulting in compression, or pinching of spinal nerves
- Degenerated disc - occurs as a fibrocartilage material begins to replace the dehydrated cushioning substance in the disc nucleus
There are other serious spinal conditions, but these three comprise the most common sources in the majority of complaints about back issues. Typically, each of these conditions result in pain, or a burning sensation, often radiating down one leg, sometimes as far as the foot. Patients also report experiencing numbness and a tingling sensation. The pain can come and go, and is often aggravated by long periods of sitting or standing, as well as bending and twisting motions.
For many years the treatment of such back conditions has been viewed as either something patients just had to learn to live with, or as conditions only treatable through painful and dangerous surgical procedures, or via uncomfortable spinal injections. It's no wonder that many back problem sufferers developed a routine of taking various pain medications, and adopting a “grin and bear it” attitude toward their condition.
Fortunately, continual studies in the causes and potential treatments of the most common back ailments have led to dramatic advances in non-surgical, non-invasive procedures that focus on restoring the back to health naturally.
Research at the Illinois Back Institute, for example, has determined that a leading cause of herniated, or ruptured discs, can be traced to dehydration of these cushioning elements, resulting in fractures to the lining holding in the spongy material they enclose when functioning properly. As a result, doctors at the institute developed Functional Disc Rehydration as a treatment option to specifically address this issue.
Understanding, and addressing back pain relief naturally, is what The Illinois Back Institute specializes in. An effective, non-invasive treatment option may be only a consultation away for many sufferers of debilitating back pain.