Lower Back Pain Treatment

Which Lower Back Pain Treatment is Right for You?

Of course, we can’t cover every single lower back pain treatment in one article, but we can certainly cover most of them. Or at least we can cover the big ones. The simple fact is you don’t need to suffer any more than you already have. Back pain, even just a little bit, is debilitating, and you deserve to be free from it. But first, it helps to know what’s causing your back pain, right? From there, you can decide what sort of treatment is best for you.

If we had to break it down, back pain can be described and categorized in three unique ways. Keep in mind that each of these has corresponding treatment methods. So, knowing which pain bracket you fall into is the first step:

  1. Axial Pain: This is the most common type, characterized by discomfort confined to the lower back without radiating to other body parts. It often relates to muscle strain, ligament sprain, or structural issues within the spine itself.
  2. Radicular Pain: Known as sciatica, it involves pain that radiates along the path of a specific nerve, typically from the lower back and into the leg. It’s caused by compression, inflammation, or injury to a spinal nerve root.
  3. Referred Pain: Pain perceived in areas away from the actual source, often stemming from internal organs. In lower back pain cases, referred pain might arise from problems in your kidneys, uterus, or other pelvic organs, manifesting as discomfort in your lower back.

Let’s get into each of these a little more, what causes them, and what you can do about it. You’re one step closer to a pain-free life. We just need to find the right treatment for you.


Why do you Need Treatment?

For your lower back pain, obviously! But there’s a little more to it than that. Before we ever move forward with any sort of treatment, we sit down with our patients and find the root cause of their back pain. That’s exactly what you need to do right now.

Take a moment to analyze your body the best you can and think back to any event or preexisting condition that might’ve caused one of the following (These are the most common we see in our practice):


This often occurs due to overexertion, improper lifting techniques, or sudden movements that stress the muscles in your lower back. Repetitive heavy lifting or sudden awkward movements can strain muscles or ligaments, leading not only to discomfort but damage as well.


Problems within your spine itself can be significant contributors to persistent lower back pain and discomfort. Conditions like herniated discs, which is where the soft inner material of one or more of your discs leaks out, or degenerative conditions like arthritis can cause ongoing pain.


Accidents, falls, or trauma can result in a deluge of injuries that need one sort of lower back pain treatment or another. They often lead to sprains, fractures, or strains in the ligaments or muscles of your back. Sudden impacts or forceful movements can also cause damage.

It’s important to understand that each of these causes can vary in severity and duration of symptoms. It’s also important to understand that the root cause of your discomfort and pain could include all of these.

With that out of the way, we can move on to the distinct kinds of pain we mentioned earlier and how you can treat them.


Which are you: Axial, Radicular, or Referred?

It’s kind of a weird question, we know. However, our goal is to empower you. Even the World Health Organization sights lower back pain as the leading cause of disability worldwide. If you know what caused your pain in the first place and can name how it’s affecting your body now, you’re that much closer to finding the right treatment.

Let’s do a quick recap of what these three types of pain mean. Axial pain typically confines itself to your lower back. Radicular pain radiates down your legs along your sciatica nerve path. And finally, referred pain, which is often the trickiest, stems away from its actual source and appears elsewhere. Organs and veins are great examples. There might be something wrong with a specific organ or cluster of veins, but the pain you feel might actually appear in your lower back, hence causing you to seek some sort of lower back pain treatment.

So, which are you? Are you Axial, Radicular, or Referred? Once you figure this out, keep reading to see what kind of treatments might be right for you.


Axial Pain Treatment

Now, there are far more than just three types of treatment for axial pain—The same goes for radicular and referred pain as well—but these are three of the most common. They’re here simply to give you a start. As such, most treatment options for axial pain focus on strengthening and rehabilitating your core and lower back.

  1. Physical Therapy: Exercises that focus on strengthening your core muscles. These exercises improve flexibility and correct posture. Combined, these effects can alleviate axial pain. Physical therapy also involves stretching and proper body mechanics instruction to reduce strain.
  2. Heat and Cold Therapy: Applying heat or cold to the affected area can provide relief. Heat increases blood flow and relaxes muscles, and cold reduces inflammation and numbs the area. Techniques include hot baths, heating pads, or ice packs applied for short periods.
  3. Manual Therapy: This lower back pain treatment involves techniques like chiropractic adjustments or osteopathic manipulation to improve your spinal alignment and reduce pain. They involve hands-on techniques to mobilize joints, relieve pressure, and enhance function.


Radicular Pain Treatment

Radicular pain treatment is different for many reasons, the primary being you’re no longer dealing with mechanical issues alone. Rather, your condition introduces a new impact on your nerves. Most treatments revolve around either calming your nervous system or blocking it entirely in that area.

  1. Epidural Steroid Injections: Administered directly into the epidural space of your spine, these injections reduce inflammation around the affected nerve root. You might be thinking, “But why steroids?” Easy, they help alleviate pain by reducing swelling and irritation.
  2. Nerve Block Injections: As opposed to epidural injections, which certainly have their place, these are a little more targeted. Your doctor injects medication near the affected nerves. This temporary interruption in nerve communication can offer relief from radicular pain.
  3. Physical Activity Modification: Avoiding activities that worsen the pain and adopting postures that reduce nerve compression is a very easy lower back pain treatment. Modifying movement and posture can prevent further nerve irritation.


Referred Pain Treatment

And finally, the most complicated, but not impossible. You just need to take a little time with your healthcare provider to find what works for you. Sometimes, you just need to think outside the box to find the right treatment. After all, you’re dealing with pain that isn’t necessarily coming from the source you might think.

  1. Treatment of Underlying Condition: Addressing the root cause, such as kidney issues or pelvic organ problems, can alleviate referred pain. This often involves specific treatments that target the primary source of your discomfort versus simply where you feel the most pain.
  2. Medications: Pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications can help manage your referred pain symptoms. These medications aim to reduce your discomfort and inflammation caused by the underlying issue. They don’t fix the problem, but they do provide some relief.
  3. Spinal Cord Stimulation: Involves implanting a device that sends electrical impulses to your spine. This stimulation disrupts pain signals and offers relief from referred pain. It changes or masks pain perceptions by loading the nerves with other signals.


Our Take on Back Pain Treatment

At Bergen Pain Management, we don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. Rather, we believe in meeting you where you’re at, finding the right solution for you, and moving forward from there. At the end of the day, we want you to know you’re in control. Follow these steps, and you’ll be that much closer to a healthier, happier life:

  1. Think back on the past few weeks or months of your life (Maybe even years). Try to find that specific moment or instance that may have injured your back.
  2. Take inventory of your body and try to define where you feel the most pain and to what degree. Different areas mean different treatment approaches.
  3. And finally, connect with your healthcare provider. You’re not alone in this. If you don’t have a healthcare provider or don’t like the one you have now, contact us today!

There’s no time to waste; you’ve already gone through this long enough. We want you to live a life free of back pain. The life you deserve. When you come in, we’d like to hear what you’ve found. We look forward to seeing you.

Want to learn more about your lower back pain?

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