A back injury can significantly disrupt your normal life. Back pain and injuries are a primary reason for missed work, missed school, doctor’s visits, and disability in the United States. Suffering a back injury often leaves you unable to sit for long periods at work, exercise, play sports, or move throughout your day normally.
There are several types of injuries that affect the soft tissues, joints, bones, and nerves that make up the back. Keep reading to learn more about four common back injuries.
Soft tissue sprains and strains are two of the most common back injuries. A sprain occurs when ligaments overstretch or tear, while a strain occurs when muscles or tendons overstretch or tear.
Common causes for sprains and strains include:
Symptoms of a sprain or strain include back pain, tightness or stiffness, muscle spasms and difficulty moving. Soft tissue injuries are usually treatable with self-care at home. Rest, avoiding painful activities, and applying heat and ice effectively treat the majority of sprains and strains.
A herniated disc is another common back injury. The spinal bones are supported by strong, flexible intervertebral discs that provide cushioning, absorb shock and aid with spinal movement. Each disc is made of a soft, jelly-like nucleus surrounded and protected by a tough outer ring of ligaments. A herniated disc occurs when a tear in the outer ring causes the nucleus to push through the disc and into the spine.
A herniated disc can be caused by:
Some people have no pain or symptoms from a herniated disc. But if disc material presses against nearby spinal nerves, you may experience back pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling. Common treatments include rest, medications, corticosteroid injections, and physical therapy. If the herniated disc is causing nerve pain and damage, minimally invasive spine surgery may be necessary to repair or remove the disc.
The spine naturally degenerates and loses normal function and structure over time. Common degenerative conditions include:
Symptoms of degenerative spine conditions include back pain, stiffness, and loss of movement. If the spinal nerves are affected by degenerative changes, you may experience weakness, numbness and tingling in the arms or legs. Degenerative spine conditions are managed with a combination of medications, physical therapy, injections and lifestyle changes.
Vertebral fractures are another common back injury. A fracture can occur from several causes, including:
The most common symptom of a spine fracture is pain that worsens with movement. Depending on the type of fracture you have, your treatment options may include bracing, traction or surgery.
Back pain is incredibly common and can be brought on by something as simple as sleeping in an awkward position. How do you know when a back injury is significant enough to warrant a trip to the doctor’s office?
Call your doctor if you’re experiencing any of the following:
It’s also a good idea to get checked out by your doctor if you have back pain following a fall, car accident, direct blow to the back or sports accident.
Don’t let back pain put you out of commission for too long. Whether you’re suffering from an acute injury or chronic pain, Integrity Spine and Orthopedics has the orthopedic care, pain management, sports medicine, and minimally invasive surgery services to help you to get back on your feet and back to doing the activities you love.
Call us today or reach out online to schedule your first appointment.