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Over 50 Years of Experience
*** Important Notice - We're Moving Soon ***
Our Chattanooga Office will be moving to
a new location effective April 17, 2017

281 N. Lyerly St.
Suite 200
Chattanooga, TN 37404

What's Causing Your Back Pain?

Back pain is one of the most common medical issues. Nearly 80 percent of adults will experience this issue during their lifetime, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). If your back has always felt fine but now suddenly hurts, you should first learn the causes of this condition so you can find the right fix.

Not every treatment alleviates every type of back pain. A pain management specialist needs to match the solution to the precise problem in order to truly make you feel good again. Before your first visit to a specialist, take a look at the possible causes of back pain and try to pinpoint which one matches your symptoms.

Muscle Strain

What may seem like a simple movement can result in strain and pain that limits your ability to stand, sit, or engage in regular activity. Back muscle strains and sprains are the result of bending, twisting, stretching, or lifting improperly.

This acute issue can feel severely painful but is rarely serious. The majority of back muscle strains resolve quickly and rarely turn into chronic conditions. But if the injury is a tear, and not a simple strain, you may have longer-lasting problems or require a lengthier treatment regimen.

Along with the muscles themselves, you can also strain or tear the tendons and ligaments in the back. Tendons are the tough tissues that hold the muscles to the bones, and ligaments are the elastic tissues that also connect to the bones, stabilizing the joints. These structures help you to move, but they also prevent excessive flexing or stretching (which could lead to injury).

The most common symptoms of back muscle strain are a sore or tight feeling, pain that increases with movement, a stiff feeling following inactivity, or shooting/stabbing pains with bending, moving from sitting to standing, or moving suddenly.

Bulging and Herniated Disks

The disks in your back are situated in between the vertebrae, cushioning the bones. While the exterior of the disks are made from hard cartilage, the interior is soft. A bulging disk is exactly as it sounds — the cartilage literally bulges (or spills) out of the vertebrae area.

Keep in mind a bulging and a herniated disk are not the same thing. Both of these medical issues can cause serious back pain. But in the case of a herniated disk, the softer inner part of the structure comes out from a crack in the hard outer layer. This crack and bulge type of issue is typically more painful than a disk that is still intact, but is protruding from the space between the vertebra.

Some patients have disk issues that cause little or no pain. These bulges or hernias are noticeable on diagnostic tests (such as an X-ray or MRI) but may not be evident to the person who has the problem.

Arthritis Issues

Arthritis is a chronic condition that can affect bones, muscles, and joints. The primary symptoms of arthritis are stiffness, swelling, and pain in the area that is impacted. When it comes to the back, arthritis can take many different forms.

Here are the most common types of arthritis that affect the back:
Osteoarthritis: a breakdown of cartilage in the facet joints that connect the vertebrae
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: an autoimmune disease that can also affect the facet joints
  • Enteropathic Arthritis: a form of arthritis that affects patients with intestinal conditions such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or inflammatory bowel disease
  • Reactive Arthritis: pain that results from an infection
  • Psoriatic Arthritis: arthritis that is paired with an irritating skin condition
Do you have back pain? Contact Specialists in Pain Management for more information on diagnosis and treatment options.

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DISCLAIMER: You will receive a call to remind you of your appointment. If you must cancel your appointment, we would appreciate at least 24 hours notice. No-shows may be charged a missed appointment fee of $25. Please bring your insurance card, a picture ID and your current medications to each visit.