Your back is made of bones, muscles, and other connective tissues that extend from your neck to your pelvis—a large portion of your body. Although back pain is something everyone seems to experience at least once in their life, it’s not unavoidable.
Back injuries can be the result of sports injuries, doing chores around the house, car accidents, or any number of other activities. The most common back injuries are sprains and strains, herniated and ruptured discs, spinal stenosis, and sciatica. These injuries can all cause pain and limit your ability to move.
One of the best ways to protect your back from injury is to follow a prevention plan. Here are a few ways you can prevent putting your back at risk:
- Weight management and control
- No smoking
- Regular exercise — core strengthening, resistance and weight training, and aerobics, are all beneficial
- Using proper lifting techniques
- Being mindful about how you’re moving when playing sports, doing recreational activities, or working around the house and yard
If you do injure your back, most pain should go away on its own within a few days with the help of anti-inflammatory medications, bed rest, and proper application of ice. However, some cases might require more urgent or serious care. Medical treatments vary but can range from physical therapy and pain management to surgery.
When the pain is severe and doesn’t improve, you should seek medical assistance from clinicians with expertise in back and spine problems. Specialists in spine care and rehabilitation will perform a thorough assessment to learn all they can about your pain and how it affects your daily life. Diagnostic imaging studies may be ordered as well. Once they have a clear picture of the injury or cause of pain, a treatment plan is developed that may include rehabilitation, pain management or surgery.
Surgical options include conventional back surgery as well as minimally invasive procedures that use less disruptive methods. Computer-assisted technology and highly specialized cameras and instrumentation enable surgeons to correct back and spine problems through tiny incisions. The benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery include less post-operative pain, less soft tissue and muscle damage, a quicker recovery time, smaller scars, reduced risk of infection, and a shorter hospital stay.
When evaluating provider options, be sure to consider those who provide the full range of treatment approaches to ensure you start with the most conservative treatment. A team approach is the best way to ensure you have the best options to help overcome your pain and resume normal activities.