Chiropractors in Las Vegas treat back pain on a daily basis. The pain is typically a symptom of an underlying condition or disease, or the result of a trauma. It is important to be able to describe the pain you are feeling so the chiropractor can make an accurate diagnosis. There are three types of back pain and each one leaves a clue as to where the source of the damage may be hidden.
Axial pain, also known as mechanical pain, is the most common low back pain. The pain varies as it may be dull or sharp, consistent or intermittent. It can be made worse by engaging in certain activities. Many patients in the Las Vegas area complain of axial pain intensifying after playing sports or sitting or standing for long periods of time at work.
This type of pain is localized to the lower back and does not travel to various areas. Any number of conditions in the lower back could be the cause of the pain. An x-ray or MRI may show a herniated or bulging disc. However, the pain could possibly be from surrounding muscles or soft tissue. Most of the time, axial pain is treated with over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen or naproxen and ice packs. Physical therapy exercises may help to elongate the spine and stretch the muscles.
Referred pain is back pain that is characterized by an intermittent, dull or achy sensation experienced in various parts of the back. This pain is due to the network of nerves becoming agitated in the lower back, pelvis, or thigh area, and not due to a compressed nerve. Referred pain is not the same as sciatica.
Treatment for referred pain is similar to that of axial pain. Once a more serious condition has been rejected as the source of pain, the referred pain will usually resolve on its own. Over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen may help as it can be taken every eight hours as needed. Naproxen typically lasts twelve hours per dose. These medications can be taken as needed for referred pain since the back pain appears intermittently. Treatments with ice packs may also decrease swelling.
Radicular pain, the most well-known symptom being sciatica, is a deep, throbbing pain radiating from the lower back into the buttocks and down one leg, although sometimes it may radiate to both legs. This pain is due to the sciatic nerve being compressed. The sciatic nerve is the largest and longest nerve in the body. If a vertebrae or disc presses into the sciatic nerve, it can become “pinched”. The radiating pain will travel from the lower back into the buttocks, leg, and possibly to the foot.
Radicular pain can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications. If the pain is severe, prescription pain medication may be prescribed. Some patients find relief from the pain by combining epidural injections with physical therapy. Chiropractic treatment can realign the spine and relieve the pressure from the sciatic nerve.
Discuss with your chiropractor the type of back pain you are experiencing.