If you are experiencing pain in your back, you should not delay in seeking medical care. The earliest you can identify a treatment plan, the better. If you experience severe pain, you should seek emergency care. In some cases, you can even go to urgent care. A medical practitioner can prescribe medication to relieve your pain and determine what needs to be done to treat your injury. Read on to learn about how to avoid back injuries and what to do if you have suffered one.
Treatment options for back injuries
Treatment options for back injuries vary depending on the type of injury. Most people experience pain in their back as a result of a sprain or a strain, which occurs when the muscles of the back are strained too much and tear. Back strains are typically not life-threatening and require no treatment beyond rest and pain medication. Depending on the severity of the injury, however, doctors may decide to perform spinal cord surgery.
X-rays, MRI, and other diagnostic tests are often required for a diagnosis of back pain or injury. MRIs produce detailed images of spinal structures and can detect spinal fractures and misalignments. Other tests include plain radiographs and MRIs, which are the gold standards of imaging today. Bony elements of the lower back are still primarily viewed with x-rays. Routine lab tests can confirm infection, malignancy, and fracture.
Exercises to prevent back injury
There are many different exercises you can do to strengthen your back muscles and prevent back injuries. Try these exercises a few times a day and repeat them as they get easier. One such exercise involves lying flat on your back and lifting your legs and chest off the floor. While tightening your abdominal muscles, raise your hips and push your shoulders toward the ceiling. Hold this position for five seconds and repeat. Other safe back exercises include wall sits and crunches.
There are various treatments for spondylolisthesis, including conservative and surgical methods. If conservative treatments don’t work, spinal fusion may be necessary. A spinal fusion can stabilize the vertebrae, restoring the strength and stability of the spine. If the fracture is severe, a spinal decompression procedure may be performed. The vertebrae are fused together to stabilize the spine and relieve pain.
Transverse process fractures
A transverse process fracture occurs when the vertebrae in the spine are separated by a sliver of bone. The transverse process is also where the muscles attach to the spine. One of these muscles is the psoas, which controls the forward bending motion of the upper body. When injured, this muscle may contract strongly and pull a chip of bone from the transverse process. The fracture of this vertebra is usually not severe.
A compression fracture can occur when the vertebrae in the spine become damaged due to a traumatic injury. In this case, the fractured vertebrae may be tender to touch and cause sudden pain. Sometimes, the fracture can even involve the spinal cord. These injuries cause pain in the back and can even affect the legs. To diagnose compression fractures, healthcare providers will ask about your medical history, any recent injuries, and the pain you are experiencing. X-rays or CT scans are used to diagnose this type of fracture.
Dislocations result from unbalanced or unexpected forces that cause the bones and joints to move out of place. Once the joint has dislocated, it is prone to repeat dislocations. These injuries are particularly common among elderly people, who may be less mobile and less able to prevent falls. Unsupervised children may also be at risk. Physical activities which are not safe may also increase the risk of dislocations.
Cancer of the spine
If cancer develops in the spine following a back injury, treatment options are varied. While primary spinal tumors may be removed, patients with metastatic cancers are treated palliatively, aiming to stabilize the spine and relieve pain. Surgery is only considered when the patient is in good overall health, has no other underlying diseases, and is unlikely to cause permanent damage. In some cases, surgery is performed to remove the tumor completely or relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. Patients may also undergo periodic imaging tests to monitor the tumor’s growth.
A good first step for people with back injuries is to keep ice or heat on the injured area. Ice can soothe the pain and increase blood flow to the area, which brings healing factors to the affected area. Heat can also help reduce swelling and inflammation, while cold is beneficial for relieving pain. To find the right treatment, talk to your healthcare provider about your current physical activity. They may be able to suggest a modification or suggest a stretching or exercise routine to reduce pain.
While a doctor can give you guidelines for your physical therapy program, you should not immediately start restricting your activities for back injury until you’ve been cleared by a physician. The medical field has no concrete evidence that limiting your activities helps ease back pain. If your back injury is minor, you might feel a mild muscle ache after working out, but it should go away on its own. Be sure to use proper form when lifting weights and use weights that you can safely handle. If you’re inexperienced with free weights, a weight machine might be easier to handle. Avoid doing high impact activities for a period of time until you’re clear on your diagnosis.