How Can I Manage Back Pain? Effective Strategies and Treatments

If you’re experiencing back pain, you’re not alone. An estimated 80% of all Americans experience back pain at some point in their life. In fact, back pain is the main cause of disability in the US, and remains to be one of the most common reasons why people visit a physician.

Pain can occur in the middle, lower, or upper back, and can severely disrupt your daily life. Going to work or even performing simple tasks could become difficult and excruciating. If pain located in your upper or lower back is preventing you from focusing on work or living your life to the fullest, it’s time to take action.

At Chicago Personal Injury Centers, we offer personalized treatment options for back pain that focus on you as a person, not as any other patient. We know that age, level of activity, occupation, and other factors influence the treatment you’ll need, and we’ll work with you to return you to full function and mobility.

Understanding Back Pain

Most cases of back pain are short-term, or acute, usually lasting for several days to several weeks. Many of these will often resolve on their own without residual function loss. Moreover, most acute pain is mechanical, meaning there is some form of disturbance in how your back’s system (spine, muscle, intervertebral discs, and nerves) moves and fits together.

On the other hand, chronic back pain lasts for more than 12 weeks, even after treating the underlying injury or cause. About 20% of the people who experience lower back pain will end up developing chronic pain with symptoms persisting for at least one year.

The back is made up of a complex system of muscles, nerves, discs, tendons, ligaments, and bones, which allows it to be both rigid to support the body, and flexible to support movement. When any of these parts are injured or damaged, they can cause pain.

The main problem with back pain is that it has so many potential causes. Anything from small irritations to major traumas from accidents can cause back pain. Illnesses and conditions such as arthritis and obesity can cause and contribute to this pain.

While almost anyone can have back pain, there are several factors that increase your risk of developing back pain. These include age, level of fitness, weight, heredity/genetics, occupational risk factors, and race.

Our team specializes in understanding the complexity of the tissues, nerves, bones, and cartilage that interact in the spine, to provide our patients with personalized treatment plans for their unique condition and circumstance.

Diagnosis and Assessment

Your physician will ask you a series of questions, such as how and when the pain started, and what activities or treatments make the pain feel worse or better. They will also conduct a thorough review of your medical history and records.

Other tests that can be used to diagnose back pain include:

  • X-rays: These can help show any problems with alignment, bones, fractures, and arthritis.
  • Computerized tomography (CT): This is an advanced form of X-ray that shows any issues with the spinal discs and any other part of the spine.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): MRIs can show problems with ligaments, muscles, discs, bones, and other tissues. While MRIs show more detail than X-rays, they’re usually not the first test performed.
  • Electromyography (EMG): EMG tests are usually used to differentiate nerve issues from muscle issues, and can identify any nerve compressions that could have been caused by a narrowed spinal canal or a herniated disc.

Other tests such as blood or urine tests may also be performed to aid with your diagnosis. Either way, proper diagnoses of the root cause of your back pain will inform the kind of treatment options that would be best for you to alleviate the pain and restore function.

Image is of a chiropractor showing his patient a model of a human spine to explain ways to manage back pain.

Conservative Treatment Options

Our physicians and staff will work with you to establish the root cause of your pain and the ideal treatments. In most cases, surgery and other invasive techniques are not the only way to address a condition. We always pursue conservative options first.

Depending on your symptoms and the nature of your back pain, there are several conservative treatment options for back pain as outlined below:

Physical Therapy and Exercise Programs Tailored to Back Pain Management

Physical therapy is one of the most effective remediations for back pain. It can essentially target the affected area to help improve circulation and flexibility and enhance mobility.

It can also be combined with personalized exercise programs, such as aerobic exercises, stretching, and stability exercises to not only reduce pain and improve mobility but also prevent future episodes of pain and promote the overall health of your back.

Lifestyle Modifications to Alleviate Back Pain

Certain lifestyle modifications can help to significantly reduce your back pain. Some of these include quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, managing your stress levels, and improving your quality of sleep.

Pain Management Techniques

Pain management techniques like massage and heat therapy help to ease stiffness, increase blood flow, and relax muscles, all of which can help ease back pain. Cold therapy can also help to reduce inflammation, numb the affected area, and help reduce acute pain. Your physician may alternate between these treatments to deliver the best results.

Advanced Treatment Modalities

Some conditions may require more advanced surgical solutions, especially if they don’t respond to conservative treatments. If it reaches a point where we feel surgery is the best option to help reduce your pain, our highly skilled surgeons have the skills to deliver effective results.

Interventional procedures offered in the Chicago injury clinic include the following:

  • Epidural injections
  • Radiofrequency Ablation (or RFA)
  • Nerve Blocks
  • Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty
  • Spinal Laminectomy
  • Foraminotomy
  • Discectomy or Microdiscectomy
  • Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy (IDET)

Other advanced procedures and treatments may be used if other treatments fail. You can always sit down with our staff and specialized surgeons for a consultation to discuss your treatment options and their implications.

Image is of a woman with a curved spine being examined by a chiropractor, concept of managing back pain strategies and treatments.

Multidisciplinary Approach to Back Pain Management

At Chicago Personal Injury Centers, we are focused on providing multidisciplinary treatment plans for our patients. These essentially target a number of areas and systems at once, to enhance the treatment. A multidisciplinary treatment plan essentially addresses the cause, symptoms, and related impact of chronic back pain.

Our team is made of highly knowledgeable and trained professionals, who are committed to offering you excellent care. We have access to cutting-edge technology and equipment and stay current on the latest therapies and research. Our professionals are also board-certified to ensure you get the best possible care for managing your pain.

If You Are Experiencing Pain From Injuries, Call the Team at Chicago Personal Injury Centers

Our mission is to help you return to full, pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Managing back pain is not a one-size-fits-all approach but rather a journey that requires a comprehensive and personalized strategy.

At Chicago Personal Injury Centers, we recognize the profound impact that back pain can have on every aspect of your life, from daily activities to overall well-being. That’s why we are dedicated to providing our patients with the highest standard of care and support.

Through our multidisciplinary approach, which combines the expertise of chiropractors, physical therapists, pain management specialists, and other healthcare professionals, we tailor treatment plans to address the root cause of your back pain and provide targeted relief. Whether you’re struggling with acute injuries, chronic conditions, or post-accident rehabilitation, our team is here to guide you every step of the way.

From conservative treatments such as physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments, and therapeutic exercises to advanced modalities including epidural steroid injections, nerve blocks, and minimally invasive procedures, we offer a range of options to suit your individual needs and preferences. Our goal is not just to alleviate pain but also to restore function, improve mobility, and enhance your overall quality of life.

We understand that living with back pain can be physically and emotionally exhausting. That’s why we’re committed to providing compassionate care and empowering our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to take control of their health and well-being.

Don’t let back pain hold you back from enjoying life to the fullest. Take the first step towards relief by scheduling a consultation with our experienced team today.

Together, we can work towards a future free from the limitations of back pain, allowing you to reclaim your vitality, mobility, and independence. Contact Chicago Personal Injury Centers today by calling (773) 482-5800 and let us help you embark on the journey towards a happier, healthier life.