Health Library ~ Family Medicine in Mullica Hill, NJ

All Material copyright Craig M. Wax, DO.

Back Pain

By Craig M. Wax, DO

Back pain is one of the leading causes of work absences in the United States.  It is also a frequent reason for people to seek medical care.  It can happen after a trauma like car accidents, falls, restless sleep or seem to come on spontaneously.

There are many diverse causes for back pain.  Somatic dysfunction, muscle strains and ligament strains are the most common.  They can be treated simply with rest and gentle osteopathic manipulation.  Stretching exercise can help a person return to normal and prevent further injuries.  Cold or warm compresses can be utilized.  Also, pain reducing medications and muscle relaxants can be used.

Some are more serious and problematic to treat like spinal stenosis - narrowing of the spinal canal, compressing the spinal cord.  Severe kidney infection can also be responsible for intense back pain.  Herniated disks in the spine can compress nerve roots causing pain and numbness in some cases.

Heart disease (problems with the blood supply to the heart) can be responsible for mid-back, shoulder, neck and jaw pain.  Lung infections and smoking can irritate back muscles by producing a vigorous cough.  Stomach, intestine, gall bladder problems can also produce back pain.

It is important that you see a physician about these problems if they do not resolve quickly.  Osteopathic physicians (D.O.) have special training in diagnosis and treatment of the musculoskeletal system (muscles, bones, fascia, ligaments, tendons, lymph and blood vessels, etc.).

Prevention of back injuries with proper posture and daily exercise are the key to avoiding back pain.

Modified 04/13/02