8 Types of Back Pain and Their Characteristics
Many of us are likely to experience a sore back at one point in our lives. Although this chronic condition can affect people of all ages, it is especially common as we get older. Back pain may be caused by moving heavy objects, overexerting in physical exercises, or other underlying health conditions. The pain can feel annoyingly persistent, flaring up in the morning and lasting deep into the night.
If the back pain has been disturbing you, visit a chiropractor as soon as possible. At your chiropractor's discretion, you may undergo medical assessments to diagnose the various back pain symptoms. Once you learn more about the characteristics of your back pain, the chiropractor can develop a treatment plan to aid your recovery.
Before proceeding with any treatment, understanding the different types of upper and lower back pain is essential. Here are eight different types of back pain and their characteristics:
Type #1: Flexion Dominant Back Pain
Flexion dominant back pain is often then result of a disc injury. For these types of back pain, the symptoms include a pain in the leg, in the spine, or in both areas. It can be worsened by sitting, lifting, or bending. You may also experience numbness, loss of motion range, leg weakness, or tingling.
In mild cases of flexion dominant back pain, some symptoms might go away after walking and standing for a while. To attend to this type of pain properly, perform stretches that involve the extension of the lumbar spine. Perform these exercises at various intervals during the day.
Type #2: Extension Dominant Back Pain
This type of back pain is often felt in the zygapophyseal joints located at the back of your spine. It is often caused by standing for too long, accompanied by symptoms like leg pain, numbness, tingling, or pain after high impact activities. You may reduce the pain by easing the pressure off the spine. Another alternative is acupuncture or manual therapy.
For long-term care, the treatment should focus on strengthening the spinal core and maintaining hip mobility. Once this is achieved, you can escalate the treatment to build muscle around the spine and to gain length in shortened hip muscles.
Type #3: Inflammatory Back Pain
This back pain is the result of excessive inflammation in the spinal joints. It is caused by medical conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis, which causes the immune system to attack the spine joints. However, you will require a professional diagnosis to ascertain the underlying cause of the inflammation.
Most patients suffering from this type of back pain are under 35 years old. They experience back stiffness that worsens early in the morning and late at night. The back pain can last for more than three months. Gentle exercises are known to reduce inflammatory back pain. Turmeric can also reduce inflammation and does not have significant side effects at low doses.
Type #4: Neurogenic Claudication
This is a specific type of back pain that affects people above 60 years old. It is caused by compressed nerves while walking or standing. Its symptoms include numbness or weakness in the legs. Often, these symptoms only go away when a patient leans forward to ease off the pressure.
Patients with neurogenic claudication often have reduced walking tolerance. As a result, they need to take frequent breaks to relax their nerves. If you experience this type of back pain, delaying proper treatment may only worsen the condition.
Type #5: Thoracic Back Pain
The thoracic spine consists of the twelve vertebrae where the ribs attach, which is often categorized as the upper back. Thoracic back pain is more likely caused by an underlying health condition than lower back pain, middle back pain, or neck pain.
Keep an eye for signs like tingling, numbness, and nerve pain in the lower body or legs. You may also experience symptoms such as fevers or chills, unexplained weight loss, severe back stiffness, or noticeable deformity.
Type #6: Middle Back Pain
In some cases, middle back pain is considered synonymous with upper back pain. It is generally described as pain above the lower back but below the rib cage. The characteristics of middle back pain can be vague, making them difficult to diagnose.
Certain factors may increase the chances of triggering middle back pain. These include smoking, anxiety, obesity, weight gain, and a lack of physical activity. In addition, pregnant women are also likely to suffer from middle back pain.
Type #7: Radicular Back Pain
Radicular pain affects the lower back. This type of lower back pain is caused by pinching nerve roots or the degeneration of the disc. Patients often describe a sharp shooting pain that begins in the lower back, which travels down into one or both legs. They may also experience tingling and numbness in their legs.
Type #8: Chronic Back Pain Disorders
Chronic back pain disorders are challenging conditions that will require professional attention. The disorder tricks the nervous system into interpreting the stimuli, which is not normally harmful to the body, causing the brain to treat it as painful. For the patient, this type of back pain is as physically real as those suffering from mechanical injuries.
The symptoms for chronic back pain disorders may vary. This type of back pain doesn't adhere to typical anatomic boundaries, so it could migrate to other body parts over time. Often, the pain can feel more intense when you are in a state of depression or anxiety.