When back pain is limited to one location, such as the lower spine, pinpointing the source of symptoms and putting together an effective treatment plan can still be a challenging process, mainly because of the many issues that can affect the human spine in so many ways. If your back pain is affecting more than one area, it can be even more difficult to find an effective approach to treatment. Keep reading to learn how back pain in multiple locations can be treated.
Identify the Pain Sources
The first step in diagnosing back pain in multiple locations is to determine which structures are affected and what factors may be involved. Oftentimes, pain from one source contributes to discomfort felt elsewhere. For instance, pain from disc degeneration in one part of your spine may affect the way you walk, which may result in added stress on muscles that support another part of your spine as you shift your weight to compensate.
Nerve compression can also be a reason for symptoms being experienced in multiple locations. For example, if the sciatic nerve starting in your lower back is affected, you may have both lower back and leg pain coming from the same source. A similar thing can happen if you have neck pain stemming from a compressed nerve located in your lower back. If this is the case, attempting to treat what you think is a neck/upper back problem won’t provide relief.
Focus on Initial Treatment Efforts
Unless symptoms are severe or potentially life-threatening, the first attempt at treating back pain in multiple locations after a diagnosis is made usually involves non-surgical or conservative remedies. In addition to rest for a limited time (which may be recommended if soft tissues around your spine are affected), initial treatment efforts may involve:
• Pain and anti-inflammatory medications
• Therapeutic stretches
• Low-impact or low-intensity exercise (e.g., walking, cycling, and water-based exercises)
• Massage therapy and other forms of physical therapy
Explore Other Treatment Options
If initial treatment efforts aren’t effective, you may be advised to explore additional treatments before having a procedure such as spinal fusion surgery. Los Angeles patients may receive treatments that include corticosteroid injections delivered directly into the affected areas, TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) and similar forms of electrical stimulation, and activity modification.
Patients with back pain in multiple locations tend to respond better to a combination of treatments that are both passive (therapeutic) and active (requiring patient participation). If symptoms persist, both conservative and surgical treatments might be recommended and could include:
• Exercises designed to help with posture
• Minimally invasive surgery to relieve nerve pressure
• Partial or complete removal of damaged discs
• Fusion surgery to prevent movement in certain areas of the spine
• Acupuncture and similar alternative treatment options
• Chiropractic adjustments targeting identified pain sources that could be affecting multiple locations
It can be tempting to treat any type of back pain with over-the-counter medications and other forms of self-care. However, the only way back pain affecting several areas can be effectively treated or managed, especially if symptoms are widespread and persistent, is to find out for sure what’s causing it. Also, provide your Los Angeles spine surgeon with honest feedback about how you’re responding to treatments so appropriate adjustments can be made to medication, physical therapy, and other aspects of your treatment plan.
No matter what’s causing your back pain, it can often be effectively managed or even eliminated entirely with the help of an experienced spinal health professional. The pioneering physicians at The Spine Institute have decades of combined experience diagnosing and treating all types of back pain. If you’re experiencing severe or lingering pain in your back, reach out to us today at 310-828-7757 to schedule a consultation.