A Comprehensive Guide to Back Pain Treatment and Management

According to statistics, 80% of people suffer back pain for various reasons. These reasons can range from a chronic injury in the vertebral column to intense muscle strain. A chronic injury in the vertebral column to intense muscle strain 

Symptoms ideally differ from one person to another. Some people might have problems standing straight, while someone with the exact cause of back pain might have inflamed areas along the vertebral column.  

So, everyone must understand that back pain is a generalized term. It can define many underlying or superficial diseases, including arthritis, vertebral tumors, slipped discs, spondylosis, etc.

Since it can render a person immobile or cause harm to other surrounding organs, getting proper back pain treatment and care is imperative.  

Causes of back pain

  • Muscle and ligament strains

Ligament and muscle strains are significant causes of intense back pain. It mainly happens when you remain in the wrong posture for a long time or have suffered a mechanical injury of high intensity, causing strains in the ligament and muscles.

In some cases, improper weight lifting can also lead to pulled or torn muscle in the back, causing intense pain for a long time. 

  • Herniated discs 

The human vertebrae have 24 rubbery discs that act like shock absorbers. Due to these discs, you can flex, bend, and move in different directions. Each vertebral disc has a soft interior portion known as the nucleus, and a tough, rigid exterior called the annulus. 

In a herniated disc, the nucleus extends and pushes through the crack in the annulus. It then puts pressure and compresses the spinal nerve running through the center of the column causing herniated discs. 

  • Arthritis

One of the significant causes of back pain is arthritis. It can cause rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. Since it’s degenerative, you must follow an intensive and prolonged treatment for back pain. Arthritis often leads to immobility, inflamed vertebrae, and shrinking disc space. 

  • Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is primarily caused due to excessive loss of calcium and phosphorus from the bones. It leads to soft and weak bones that can collapse and crumble into pieces even due to a mild shock or injury. 

If this happens, you won’t be able to stand straight. Osteoporosis in the spine is also a leading cause of hunched back. 

  • Other causes

Other causes of back pain are sometimes there, like age, lack of flexibility and movement, obesity, etc. Most of these causes are due to lifestyle. Back pain management must include significant changes in how you live. 

Diagnosis of back pain

Once you recognize the symptoms and visit the doctor, they will give you specific tests to diagnose the exact cause. You will only get appropriate back pain treatment if it is diagnosed correctly. So, let’s have a quick look at the three excellent ways to detect the source of back pain. 

  • Physical examination

Physical examination for back pain includes assessing your movements and the extent of flexibility your back has. 

For example, the doctor might ask you to bend forward and backwards to check at which point you are feeling the pain or not. If you feel a numbing sensation in certain areas, the doctor might check the places where you don’t have any sense.

It gives a general overview of your health.

  • Imaging tests

The most accurate diagnosis of back pain is the imaging test. Doctors usually refer to X-rays at the beginning to check for any possible physical injury to the muscle or vertebrae. 

If there is any sign of nerve compression, slipped disc, or herniated disc, your doctor can suggest doing an MRI scan. It gives detailed imaging reports of every part of the back. Sometimes, ultrasonography is also done to check for tumor growth inside the vertebrae.

  • Other diagnostic tests

Blood tests are done to check for internal inflammation in the vertebrae. If there is any, the CRP level in the blood will increase. Checking vitals is also necessary to know if the back pain is causing any problems to the body.

Treatment options

Conservative treatments

  1. Rest and activity modification

With alternate activity and rest periods, you can increase the mobility in your vertebra and the surrounding muscles. It will increase the stretchability and flexibility of the tendons and muscles, relieving back pain.

  • Physical therapy

Physical therapy is one of the best ways to treat back pain. A physiotherapist uses different techniques to restore proper mobility with significant pain level alleviation. 

  • Heat and cold therapy

Alternate heat and cold therapy are the best back pain management plan if inflammation exists. It reduces pain levels by a substantial level, which is one of the significant benefits of opting for this treatment. 

  • Medication

your doctor can prescribe analgesics to reduce pain, anti-inflammatory medicines for inflammation, and nerve-related medicines after detecting the leading cause of back pain,  

Interventional treatments

  • Injections

One of the significant ways to treat back pain is injections. Here, the medicine is injected directly into the bloodstream or the vertebral fluid as per the health condition, causing quick relief from back pain.

  • Radiofrequency ablation

RFA is a process through which the tumor, cyst, or any other growth is reduced in size through a minor incision. 

  • Spinal cord stimulation

In this method, mild electrical impulses intercept the pathway for pain signals reaching your brain. After breaking the path, your brain won’t receive the pain signals, and you will feel tingling. 


Several surgeries can be performed for back pain treatment. Some of them are:

  • Vertebroplasty

Repairs any compressive factors in the vertebrae due to osteoporosis.

  • Discectomy

Removal of the herniated disc, mainly when it compresses the spinal nerve.

  • Foraminotomy

 Enlargement of the bony hole to prevent nerve root compression due to aging.

  • Spinal laminectomy 

Removal of spinal stenosis that causes the spinal canal to get narrowed

  • Nucleoplasty

Use of RF energy to treat a herniated disc in the lower portion of the vertebral column

Surgeries can quickly treat back pain and remove any structural deformity, which otherwise would continue to cause immense aches.

However, there are certain risks involved since it’s bone surgery. Your doctor will explain all the risks based on your health, comorbidity, and age. 

Alternative and complementary therapies

  • Acupuncture

Acupuncture is the best alternative treatment for back pain. It is a process where the therapist will use pressure to reduce the muscle knots and release the tension using needles.

  • Chiropractic

It is also a famous treatment for enhancing bone and muscle coordination and mobility. Here professional chiropractors manually remove pressure from bones using various techniques.

  • Massage therapy

Massage therapy at the back can provide immense relief if you have muscle inflammation, neurological problems, injury, trauma, or tensed knots. 

  • Yoga

Lastly, you should include yoga as a therapy for back pain management. It increases the body’s flexibility and pain tolerance level by a significant level. 


Other problems, including muscle and ligament sprain, osteoporosis, herniated disc, and any injury or trauma, can cause back pain. However, with a proper diagnosis at the right time, you can be saved from immense pain, higher chances of immobility, and many other problems. 

Studies revealed that about 16 million adults suffer from chronic back pain. However, this is a small issue. Due to medical advancements, you can quickly heal from chronic back pain and live a healthy and fit life.

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