Other Conditions That Cause Back Pain In Older Adults
We often see a range of less serious but still painful spine conditions in seniors. Most patients with these conditions will not require surgery. Physical therapy, medication, injectable anesthetics, or a combination of treatments usually can control symptoms.
- Degenerative disc disease, which can cause whole spine pain, and lumbar arthritis, which usually causes low-back pain, commonly develop with age and are considered wear-and-tear conditions.
- Sacroiliitis is an inflammation of the joints that connect your spine and pelvis. This condition can cause pain in the low back, glutes, and upper legs.
- Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory arthritis that causes patients spines to become inflexible, resulting in a continual hunched forward position and spine pain.
- We also check for adult degenerative scoliosis and kyphosis, spine-curving conditions that can result in back pain and weakness in the lower extremities.
Middle Back Pain From A Herniated Disc
A herniated disc developers when a disc protrusion ruptures or herniates through the delicate wall of the intervertebral disc. As a result, the viscous material from the interior of the disc can spill into the spinal canal, thereby producing intense middle back pain from impinging on sensitive nerves on one side of the body. In most cases, disc herniation originates from gradual, age-related wear and tear referred to as disc degeneration. Signs and symptoms of herniated discs depend on the location in the spine and if the disc is pressing on a nerve. The most common symptoms a patient will experience include pain in the buttocks, thigh, and calf, numbness or tingling from the affected nerves, and muscle weakness affecting stability and the ability to lift or hold items.
What Home Precautions Must I Follow After My Back Surgery
After your back surgery, its important for you to be careful as you ease back into your regular routine. Your surgeon and physical therapist will encourage you to do simple, easy activities and exercises everyday. However, it is important for you to be careful as you navigate your home after surgery. Precautions may include:
- Keep pets in a separate room until you are settled. This will keep them from jumping on you as you arrive home. Once you are seated and comfortable, allow your pet to come and visit with you.
- Sit in a sturdy chair that has arms and is easy to stand from. Avoid sitting in low, overstuffed chairs or sofas and rocking chairs. If your preferred chair is too low, you may need to put a pillow in the cushion of the seat.
- Ride home in a mid-size or larger car that is easy to get in and out.
- Make sure you get in the car safely:o First, ask your drive to make sure the passenger seat is back as far as possible.o Then, stand with your back toward the car.o Next, sit down gently and carefully scoot back into the seato Then, swing your legs into the caro Finally, position yourself comfortably in the seat.
- Avoid bending, twisting and lifting for the first few weeks after surgery.
- Plan on having assistance for the first 5-7 days after surgery
- Remove throw rugs in your home
- Keep items you need close by, such as on a nightstand, end table or TV tray if needed.
Don’t Miss: How To Relieve Back Pain Stretches
Which Conditions Can Cause Middle Back Pain
As the bodys central support structure, the spine protects the spinal cord, sensitive nerve roots, and several internal organs. The spine keeps us standing upright and connects the head, chest, pelvis, shoulders, arms, and legs. Due to the intricate nature of the structure, nerve pain that extends from the back to the feet may actually be the result of a problem originating from your lumbar spine . While some patients reporting sore middle back pain only experience mild pain, others report intense pain that disrupts day-to-day activities.
But identifying the cause of middle back pain can help board-certified spine doctors pinpoint both the origin and cause of the pain. Once a spine surgeon determines the underlying conditions responsible for middle back pain, patients can begin advanced spinal care tailored to his or her individual needs. With a dedicated staff of nationally recognized spinal experts, the team at New Jersey Spine Specialists understands the main conditions that cause the manifestation of middle back pain and proven treatment approaches to eliminate painful symptoms.
When To See A Doctor
If youâre like most people with upper and middle back pain, youâll be able to manage your symptoms at home. Over-the-counter pain relievers, heat, or ice may be enough to ease your condition.
You should call your doctor, though, if your pain becomes too intense or starts to keep you away from your daily activities.
Certain symptoms require fast attention. They include:
- Losing control of your bowels or bladder.
- Fever along with pain.
- Pain that starts after a fall, an accident, or a sports injury.
Don’t Miss: Why Does My Lower Back Hurt After Working Out
Is It A Brief Mild Ache
If so, this could indicate mere muscle strain, but it could also be either swollen facet joints or herniated discs. Experiencing this kind of soreness is a nuisance at best. Doing chores and completing office work should still be possible, but even the mildest pains could turn into more serious issues if proper actions arent taken. Thats why these steps are important to remember:
It’s The Wrong Firmness Level
Is it difficult for you to get comfortable in bed at night? You may be sleeping on the wrong type of mattress. Even the most expensive luxury mattress can create unpleasant aches and pains if it’s the wrong match for your preferences and body type.
Per Dr. Lees, there should not be any gaps between your body and the mattress, and you should be able to lie in a natural position without any torque in your back. If your mattress is in otherwise good condition, adding a mattress topper will instantly make it softer or firmer at a fraction of the cost of a brand-new bed.
Don’t Miss: What To Do For Back Pain During Pregnancy
You Were In A Car Accident
If youre able to walk away from a rear end crash and feel OK, you may decide not to get checked out by a doctor. However, whiplasha violent backward-and-forward jerk of the headcan create tears and inflammation of the muscles and ligaments in the neck and upper back, explains Dr. Chang. See your doctor if you suspect whiplash, especially if you have other symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, and pain in your neck.
What Should I Know About Upper Back Pain
Upper back pain can start anywhere from the back of your neck to the bottom of your rib cage. These areas are less likely to trouble you compared to your lower back.
The spine or the backbone is one of the sturdiest parts of the body and gives the body the desired strength and flexibility. The spinal cord is comprised of 24 bones, known as vertebrae, and has discs in between the bones. There are several strong ligaments and muscles surrounding them that provide support to the bones. Also, the spinal cord has many small joints on both sides. The structures of your spine, such as the joints, discs and ligaments, start to degenerate as you age. As you age, its usual for your back to get stiffer.
Approximately 80 percent of adults will experience back pain in their lives. You can prevent or relieve most back pain episodes with simple home treatment and proper body mechanics. Surgery is often not needed to treat back pain.
You May Like: Who To See If You Have Back Pain
Treatment If Back Pain Is Severe Or Lasts A Long Time
If your back pain doesn’t get better or is severe, your doctor may recommend:
- Prescription medicines.
These may include:
- Muscle relaxants to help reduce pain and muscle tension and help you move better. These can help with severe muscle spasms that happen when the back pain starts .
- Antidepressants, such as duloxetine. They can help treat long-lasting back pain.
- Prescription pain medicines.
- Steroid shots.
They may help reduce swelling and relieve pressure on nerves and nerve roots. But there is little evidence showing that these shots can help control back pain.
In some cases, a back brace may be used to support the bones in the spine after a fracture.
Let Njss Treat Your Middle Back Pain
The solution to a patients middle back pain depends on the source of the pain, as well as the injury a patient sustained. The first step on the road to recovery involves consulting with a board-certified doctor for effective treatment approaches. Depending on the severity of the middle back pain, a patients spine doctor may recommend physical activity restrictions, lifestyle changes, medication, and physical therapy. For more intense middle back pain, a board-certified spine expert may suggest surgical inversion after exhausting all non-invasive methods.
I am pain free, walking and well on my way to recovery thanks to the help of New Jersey Spine Specialists Robert K
Read Also: Can Xarelto Cause Back Pain
Other Causes Of Middle Back Pain
Middle back pain can range in severity and be explained by a number of things, ranging from tight muscles to cancer. Some of the more frequent causes of pain in the middle of the back are:
- Weak muscles that hinder movement and do not support the back properly
- Frequent and incorrect use of knapsacks that are too heavy or weighted improperly
- Trauma from a fall or car accident
- Long periods of poor posture
- Slipped or herniated disks
- Repeated heavy lifting
- Injuries due to sports
If your pain is not related to a known cause such as injury, poor posture, or improper use of a knapsack, it is important to speak with your doctor about potential causes, as middle back pain can be associated with more serious conditions such as osteoporosis, scoliosis, and some cancers.
When Back Pain Suggests Something Worse
Back pain, whether it’s low back pain, neck pain or pain up between the shoulder blades, affects so many of us that that almost everyone has had an ache or pain that has made them worry. Since the common causes of back and neck pain are typically age-related wear-and-tear changes or minor injuries, 90% of people improve with simple supportive care – rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy. However, when pain persists, or presents in an unusual way, you may begin to worry that the pain is coming from something more serious.
While serious, unrecognized diseases are very uncommon causes of back pain, there are some disorders that can seriously impact your health if they aren’t recognized early enough. These kinds of disorders almost always offer a few clear clues to their diagnosis, however. A careful history and physical examination, looking for specific signs and symptoms, and properly selected diagnostic studies, will allow your physicians to confidently rule out important underlying diseases.
There are a few warning signs you should recognize and bring to your doctor’s attention:
Also Check: How To Relieve Back Pain While Sleeping
Why Is Lower Back Pain Such A Common Problem
The bottom part of your back typically has just five vertebrae fewer than your neck and mid-back. And these vertebrae do a lot of heavy lifting! Your lower back is where your spine connects to your pelvis, bearing the weight of your upper body. This area experiences a lot of movement and stress, which may lead to wear, tear and injuries.
Simple Back Pain Relief
Do you have pain in the middle of your back? Does it feel kind of like a wide band of pain below your shoulder blades?
Or do you have a wide band of pain across your lower back?
You know how Im always telling you that muscles are the largest cause of pain? Well, this may come as a surprise. Its still muscles but if your pain pattern looks like the red areas in this picture, the muscle to blame is in the front of your body!
The abdominal muscles right next to the midline of your body can cause referred pain into your back. This happens when the muscle develops trigger points. Trigger points cause referred pain.
Sometimes only one side of the rectus abdominis has a trigger point but it still causes pain on both sides of the back.
How can you get rid of the trigger points that cause your back pain?
You could have someone rub on your back until the cows come home but it wont help if your back pain is caused by muscles in front of your body. You have to relax the trigger points in that abdominal muscle to relieve your back pain.
See the Xs on the abdominal muscle? Those indicate the locations of trigger points. Those are the areas to treat.
Remember, you dont want to just pick up skin you want to actually lift muscle. If you do this and its really tender, theres a great chance that you are in the right place or very close to it! Good job!
And heres something else that is very interesting about trigger points in the any of the abdominal muscles:
What Are The Complications Of Neck And Back Pain
Loss or productivity: Back pain is the most common reason for disability in working adults.
Nerve damage: If your back pain is from a herniated disc, pressure on the spinal nerves may cause a variety of problems, such as weakness, numbness, or severe shooting pain that travels from the back to the leg.
Depression: Back or neck pain can disrupt all aspects of a persons life: work, physical exercise, social activities, and sleep. The anxiety and stress caused by the change in mobility and pain can lead to depression.
Weight gain: Loss of mobility and inability to exercise can lead to weight gain and the loss of muscle strength.
It is a good idea to see a health care provider if you have numbness or tingling, or if your pain is severe and does not improve with medication and rest. If you have difficulty urinating, weakness, pain, or numbness in your legs, fever, or unintentional weight loss, you should call your health care provider right away.
Treatment For Middle Back Pain
Treatment for middle back pain varies based on the cause of the pain. Because back pain is fairly common, most people first attempt to treat it at home using simple, inexpensive, and noninvasive treatment methods. If home remedies dont help your symptoms, medical treatments or surgery may be required.
Don’t Miss: How To Fix Low Back Pain Instantly
What Is Upper And Middle Back Pain
Upper and middle back pain can occur anywhere from the base of your neck to the bottom of your rib cage.
Your ribs attach to a long, flat bone in the centre of the chest called the sternum and attach to and wrap around your back. If a nerve in this area is pinched, irritated, or injured, you may also feel pain in other places where the nerve travels, such as your arms, legs, chest, and belly.
The upper and middle back has:
- 12 vertebrae. These bones attach to your rib cage. They make up the longest part of your back.
- Discs that separate each vertebra and absorb shock as you move.
- Muscles and ligaments that hold the spine together.
See a picture of the spine.
Upper and middle back pain is not as common as low back pain or neck pain, because the bones in this area of the back don’t flex or move as much as the bones in your lower back or neck. Instead, they work with the ribs to keep the back stable and help protect vital organs, such as the heart and lungs.
Could Lower Back Pain Be Kidney Pain
It absolutely can. Kidneys are located on the back side of your body and kidney pain can sometimes feel like back pain. The only true way to tell the difference is to visit a doctor who can conduct a thorough examination.
Back Pain Causes and Treatments Webinar | Stephanie Van, M.D.
Chronic back pain is a persistent source of discomfort for many adults. In this webinar, our expert Stephanie Van, M.D., discusses common causes of back pain along with strategies for relief.
Also Check: Is My Lower Back Pain Muscular Or Skeletal
Treatment If Back Pain Gets Worse
If your back pain doesn’t get better or it gets worse, your doctor may recommend:
- Prescription medicines, such as opioids, to help reduce pain.
- Prescription muscle relaxants to help reduce pain and muscle tension and improve mobility. These can help with severe muscle spasms that happen when the back pain starts .
- Antidepressants, such as amitriptyline and duloxetine, to help treat long-lasting back pain.
- Steroid shots to help reduce swelling and relieve pressure on nerves and nerve roots. But there is little evidence showing that these shots can help control back pain.
In some cases, a back brace may be used to support the bones in the spine after a fracture.
Surgery is seldom used to treat upper and middle back pain. If your doctor recommends surgery, the type will depend on the problem you have. Surgery choices may include:
- Herniated disc removal. It removes the portion of the disc that is herniated and pushing into the spinal canal. In most cases, herniated discs that occur in the upper and middle back are small and don’t need surgery. But you may need surgery for a large herniated disc that presses on the spinal cord.
- Spinal decompression for stenosis. It widens the spinal canal that has narrowed, and it relieves pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. This procedure is not done very often, because spinal stenosis in the upper and middle back is rare.