Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lower Back Pain Generators - The Origin of Lower Back Pain

There are many reasons for lower back pain. The lower back is defined by the lumbar region of the spine. There are five lumbar vertebral levels and back pain can come from any of those levels. Studies have shown that there are approximately twenty pain generators at each level of the spine. So, twenty generators at five lumbar levels would make it one hundred pain generators.

The sources of lower back pain include, just to name a few:
  • The skin
  • The different muscles
  • Different ligaments of the spine
  • The vertebral bones
  • Facet joints
  • Nerve roots
  • Lumbar disc herniations / herniated discs
Most of the time, back pain does not come from one single source, but rather from several sources. For example, when an elderly individual twists his/her back. He/she may be getting the back pain from arthritis from the facet joints, degeneration of the discs and the pulled muscle. Typically, a lumbar strain will resolve on its own within a few weeks and up to three month (even if one doesn't do anything about it). However, if the pain persists for longer than that, the individual should get evaluation and treatment from a pain doctor / pain physician who specializes in spinal injuries. These pain specialists can frequently help in determining the source of back pain by conducting the necessary workup and provide the appropriate pain relief treatments. These pain relief treatments can range from physical therapy, pain medications, trigger point injections, epidural injections, facet joint injections, acupuncture (accupuncture), and even surgery. Obviously, this is not a complete list of pain treatment options. I would recommend individuals with persistent back pain to seek treatment from a qualified Pain Management / Pain Medicine / Interventional Pain Management / Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Physiatry) doctor. One can find a pain specialist in the local phone book, through an online search, or talk to one's treating doctor.

Jackie Chan, MD, Modesto California
Board Certified in Pain Management
Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Board Certified in Electrodiagnostic Medicine

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