Many people experience a back injury at some point in their life. If you are suffering from a back injury, it can be difficult to know whether you need to see a doctor. An accurate diagnosis and treatment can reduce the severity of the injury and speed up the healing process.
We want to give you a breakdown of the most common back injuries. Keep reading to learn more about the most common back injuries that affect people.
Most Common Back Injuries
Back injuries come in various forms, but some of the most common types of back pain are sprains and strains, slipped discs, sciatica, ruptured discs, and spinal fractures.
Sprains and Strains
A sprain is a tear or an overstretched ligament in the back, while a strain is a torn or overstretched muscle or tendon. The two usually occur together, as they’re both caused by sudden movements or stretching the back in an unusual way.
Typically, a sprain leads to swelling and bruising, while a strain causes muscle pain and weakness. Resting, icing, elevation, and compression are the primary treatments for sprains and strains to reduce swelling and ensure proper healing.
A slipped disc happens when the tough outer layer of the rubbery, spongy rings between the spine and discs is stretched, allowing some of the inner material to slide out. Symptoms of a slipped disc include back pain that radiates and intensifies when bending or lifting and numbness in the extremities. Treatment options for slipped discs include anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, and surgery.
It occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes compressed, irritated, or inflamed. Symptoms include pain that radiates from the lower back and down the leg, as well as tingling and weakness in the leg.
A back pain doctor can perform imaging tests to diagnose the condition and plan the treatment. Treatment options include physical therapy and pain medications. Also, trigger point injections, acupuncture, or surgery.
A ruptured disc occurs when the disc’s outer wall has become damaged. This rupture can be caused by anything from strenuous physical activity to aging. Symptoms include pain that radiates down the legs to extremely sharp and sudden lower back pain.
Due to its intense nature, addressing a ruptured disc needs to be done as soon as possible. Treatment for a ruptured disc includes rest and physical therapy. More serious cases of a ruptured disc may require surgery.
Spinal fractures generally occur when the vertebrae in the spine are fractured. It can be caused by vehicular accidents, falls, or sporting injuries. Symptoms include localized or radiating pain, numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation.
Medical treatment is typically required to manage spinal fractures properly. Depending on the severity and extent of the fracture, bracing, surgery or pain management may be required to ensure a full and speedy recovery.
Factors Contributing to Chronic Back Pain
Back injuries can vary in seriousness, duration, and cause. Understanding the risks and how to prevent back injuries is key, whether due to overexertion or a fall. Always warm up, stretch, and wear protective gear when engaging in strenuous activities.
If you suffer a back injury, consult a specialist as soon as possible. Knowledge is power!
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