Understanding Different Types of Back Pain

June 9, 2020

Looking for a chronic back pain treatment? Most of us will suffer from back pain at some point in our lives. It’s important to remember that the intensity of pain is different for every person.

For instance, both patients may be diagnosed with the herniated disc but only one is complaining of excruciating back pain. So your pain, no matter how mild or severe, is valid. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

Your back is filled with interconnected and overlapping structures including the spinal nerves, large muscles, facet joints, and intervertebral discs. Injury to any of these structures can produce back pain. The location of pain and how you describe it are important to determine its classification.

Here are the three common types of back pain according to Dubai physiotherapy experts:

  1. Axial Pain

The most common low back pain, axial pain can range from mild to severe, sharp or dull, and can be felt intermittently or constantly. The pain is confined to the lower back and does not travel to the legs, feet, buttock, and other areas of the body. The symptoms are often self-limited and resolve with time. Physical therapy for lower back pain may be recommended.

Also called mechanical pain, axial pain is characterized by low back pain that gets worse with certain activities (playing volleyball, jogging, etc.) and positions (sitting or standing for long periods), and pain that is relieved by rest. The anatomical structures associated with axial pain include facet joint problems, degenerated disc, and damage to soft tissues.

  1. Referred Pain

Referred pain is defined as “pain that is felt in an area at some distance from its cause”. For instance, low back pain can sometimes radiate to the buttock, groin, and upper thigh. The pain tends to be dull, achy and moves around. This is because of interconnecting sensory nerves supplying the tissues of the pelvis, thigh, and lower back.

Similar to axial pain, referred pain can be treated with non-surgical care. It can be through a short period of rest, physical therapy Dubai, active exercise, stretching, ice packs, hot pads, and appropriate medications. However, a physician first needs to rule out any serious underlying medical condition (e.g. kidney stones or prostate problems) as the cause of low back pain.

  1. Radicular Pain

This type of pain occurs when pain is caused by an inflamed or compressed spinal nerve root. It is described as a searing or electric shock-like pain. This is because the pain travels the path of the spinal nerve and exits the spinal canal. If the compressed nerve root is in the lumbar spine, which is in the lower back, the pain may travel to the leg.

When pain is accompanied by neurological deficits, such as weakness and/or numbness, it is called radiculopathy. It can be caused by spinal stenosis or a herniated disc. Radicular pain and radiculopathy can occur together and initial nonsurgical treatments are often the same.

The underlying cause of your back pain is hard to identify on your own. It’s always best to check with a physician who can diagnose your symptoms and the root cause. If you have pain that isn’t going away, our team at Scandinavian Physiotherapy Center can help design a treatment plan for you. Call us at +971 4 551 6126 today!