Back Pain: Types And Symptoms

Nowadays, suffering from back pain is a very common thing. In the US, on an average 3 million people visit doctors to get treated daily. Though in most cases proper rest and exercises may heal the pain, some patients require undergoing surgery for recovery. However, recently the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has strongly recommended against the popular procedure of vertebroplasty for the treatment of spinal compression fractures, which involved injecting bone cement into the spinal vertebrae. According to them the surgery fails to give the type of benefit it was previously expected to provide.

There can be different areas of occurrence for back pain. Types of pain depending upon these can be categorized into the following:

1. Radicular Lower Back Pain: This pain also known as sciatica is felt in the lower back area, legs and thighs. It is caused by compression of the lower spinal nerve or herniated disc. It may also start due to diabetes or injury to the nerve root.

Symptoms: The pain starts from the lower back and follows a specific nerve path into the thighs and legs. The pain is often deep and steady. Certain positions or activities like sitting or walking may increase the pain.

2. Axial Pain: This type is the most common one. The pain occurs only on the lower back region and other parts of the body do not get affected. This is also known as simple or mechanical back pain.

Symptoms- The degree of pain varies greatly from dull to sharp, intermittent to constant. The pain may increase with certain activities like playing tennis or sitting at a desk for prolonged period.

3. Referred Pain: It is not a common type like the previous two. The roots of this type are identical as that of simple axial back pain.

Symptoms: The referred pain is usually felt in the low back area and it radiates slowly into the groin, upper thighs and buttocks. Though the pain moves around, it does not go below the knee. The patient experiences an achy, dull pain which comes and goes often.

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