Understanding the different types of back pain

Back pain is a notoriously difficult issue to diagnose and address. In part, this is down to the fact that there are many different types of back pain and patients often find it difficult to describe the discomfort they are feeling.

Furthermore, the brain tends to have a hard time discerning which part of the spine is injured. Patients with a herniated disc, for example, may experience similar feelings of pain to one with an arthritic facet joint due to the fact that these structures are so close to each other.

If you have an upcoming chiropractic appointment booked, therefore, it is a good idea to think carefully about how to communicate the problems you are experiencing with your back. We’ve put together a list of different kinds of back pain to help you out:

1. Axial pain

Also known as mechanical pain, this type of discomfort is isolated and can be described in many ways including throbbing, constant, dull, sharp, or intermittent. Typical causes of axial pain include muscle strain and disc tears.

2. Radicular pain

This type of pain can be very uncomfortable and distressing and is characterised as searing or akin to an electric shock. This is because it follows the spinal nerve’s path as it leaves the spinal canal. Radicular pain is usually caused by the compression or inflammation of a spinal nerve root. If accompanied by feelings of numbness or weakness, this type of pain is referred to as radiculopathy or sciatica.

3. Referred pain

Referred pain is usually described as achy and dull and can move around your back. Lower back pain, for example, may travel to the hips and the backs of the thighs.

When you describe your pain to your chiropractor, therefore, you should tell them whether it is dull or sharp; constant or intermittent; low or high up on the back. Giving full details about additional symptoms such as numbness or weakness could also help them to reach a diagnosis and establish an adequate treatment plan for your circumstances.

Sometimes, the anatomical causes of back pain remain unclear. In this case, your chiropractor will still attempt to alleviate the pain and help you to develop coping mechanisms.

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Is back pain getting you down? Book an appointment with us today.

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