How to Tell if Back Pain is Muscular

How to Tell if Back Pain is Muscular

Experiencing back pain as an adult is relatively common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 40% of adults in the United States will struggle with some degree of back pain during their lives. If you experience back pain, you’re not alone.

Back discomfort is so common partially because it has many potential causes. Sometimes, it’s a symptom of a muscular injury or strain. If you’re experiencing back pain, it’s possible you injured or strained the muscles in your back at some point without realizing it.

The best way to determine if your back pain is muscular is to discuss your symptoms with a professional. A doctor offering pain management services can evaluate your physical condition and determine what may be causing your discomfort. This is key to determining the proper treatment method.

In the meantime, though, asking yourself certain questions can help you better understand whether your back pain may be related to a muscular injury or similar issue.

Is My Back Pain Muscular? Questions To Ask

Questions that can reveal potentially useful information about whether your back pain is muscular include:

  • When did the pain begin? Did you start noticing symptoms after lifting a heavy object, playing a sport, or engaging in a similar form of strenuous physical activity?
  • How does the pain feel? Is it sharp or dull?
  • Does the pain become more noticeable when you move? How about when you apply pressure to the area?
  • Do you experience any other symptoms accompanying your pain, such as spasms or stiffness?

There’s a strong possibility your back pain is muscular if you answered yes to many or most of these. Your next step should be to schedule an appointment with a doctor with the qualifications necessary to provide an official diagnosis.

Answering these questions on your own ahead of time can help you prepare for your appointment. The more thoroughly and accurately you can describe the nature of your pain and when it started, the easier it may be for a doctor to assess what may have caused it.

Ways to Alleviate Muscular Back Pain

There are various ways you may reduce muscular back discomfort. They include the following:

  • Getting proper rest and limiting physical activities that may require the use or movement of the affected area whenever possible.
  • Applying heating pads or ice to the affected area. Heat may relax your muscles, while cold can minimize inflammation.
  • Using over-the-counter pain medication. Be sure you fully understand how to do so safely, as even some OTC medications have the potential to cause harm when taken improperly.
  • Seeing a physical therapist to address the underlying injury.

It’s also wise to identify any lifestyle factors that may have contributed to your injury. For example, if you don’t maintain a healthy posture throughout the day, you may be more prone to the types of injuries that can result in muscular back pain. You might also be more vulnerable to such injuries if you don’t maintain a healthy weight. Addressing such issues may not totally eliminate pain you’re already experiencing, but it can guard against future back discomfort.

Your job might also require you to perform physical activities that can lead to muscular back injuries. Going forward, be sure to take steps to prevent such injuries at work. For instance, if you need to lift heavy objects, do so with help from your coworkers or from safe tools designed for this purpose.

Most importantly, listen to the advice of your doctor after they examine you. This is essential. A medical professional who understands the various causes of muscular back pain may provide you with the ideal treatment plan for your needs, helping you overcome your current injury and avoid future harm.

Contact a Pain Management Specialist

At the American Pain Institute, a doctor is available to diagnose the cause of your back pain and recommend a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Depending on the circumstances, it may even be possible to treat your back pain without surgery. Learn more about how we can help by contacting us online or calling us at 603-766-8500 to schedule an appointment.