Back Pain Treatment Online

Back pain encompasses lower back pain and upper back pain and is caused by a number of issues including muscular, nerve, and degenerative problems.

Back Pain

Back pain symptoms can vary, but patients typically experience:

  • Pain
  • Leg numbness
  • Pins and needles
  • Muscle spasms
  • And more.

Diagnosing and Treating Back Pain Online

The two most common forms of back pain are lower back pain and upper back pain.

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is one of the most common forms of pain. A majority of adults report experiencing back pain at some point in their lives. The lower back is defined as the area below the ribcage, which is also called the lumbar region. This part of the back is responsible for supporting a significant amount of upper body weight. Types of lower back pain can range from shooting pain to a dull constant ache.

There are a number of causes of lower back pain. Muscle sprains and ligament strains are the most common cause of lower back pain. Other causes include:

  • Sciatica
  • Intervertebral disc generation
  • Herniated or ruptured discs
  • Traumatic injury
  • Spinal Stenosis

Some factors that may contribute to lower back pain include age, fitness level, pregnancy, weight gain, genetics, mental health factors or heavy backpacks.

Upper Back Pain

The upper back is defined as the twelve vertebrae, also called the thoracic spine.  People typically experience back pain between the neck and the lower ribcage. Oftentimes upper back pain occurs in conjunction with neck and shoulder pain. Causes of upper back pain can include overuse, injury, poor posture, pressure on the spinal nerves, osteoarthritis, or a fracture.   

In recent years, upper back pain has become a common complaint among people who work at computers for an extended period of time. Other common reasons for upper back pain include lack of strength, also known as deconditioning, and overuse injuries.

Both types of back pain are treated similarly in that painkillers and physical rehabilitation are the main treatments recommended.

During a video consult on Amwell your doctor will ask you a series of targeted questions to determine if your symptoms point to back pain. Then your provider will proceed to determine the best treatment plan for you. Your provider may recommend in-person examination by a specialist if needed. Your treatment plan is based on the duration and severity of your symptoms and your medical history.

Once a diagnosis has been made, your doctor will go over the risks and benefits of the various treatment plans. Treatment for back pain is different depending on the severity.

Options for treatment of back pain differ by cause, but may include:

  • Over-the-counter pain medication
  • Heat and ice
  • Exercise
  • Physical therapy
  • Massage

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Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers.

See below for answers to some of our most common questions. You can also call us anytime 24 hours a day at 1‑844‑SEE‑DOCS for questions about our services or to speak to a doctor about your symptoms or conditions.

  • What is the relationship between pregnancy and back pain?

    Pregnancy can be tough on a woman’s back. Back pain during pregnancy typically occurs in the area of a woman’s back where the pelvis meets the spine, also known as the sacroiliac joint. Some causes of pregnancy-related back pain include weight gain, posture changes, hormone changes, and muscle separation. To treat back pain related to pregnancy, it’s recommended that women maintain regular exercise, apply heat and cold to the region, and improve posture.

  • Does yoga help back pain?

    Yes, yoga does help with back pain. In fact, recently, a study of 320 people, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that yoga and physical therapy provide the same level of improvement for people with back pain. The study involved participants who had chronic lower back pain. The study groups also reported similar quality of life and satisfaction measurements.

  • What are some recommended stretches or exercises for back pain?

    Different stretches and exercises are recommended for upper and lower back pain. Exercises to aid in the management of lower back pain include:

    • Bridges: Lie on your back with feet on the floor and knees pointing to the sky. Lift your hips up and hold position for five seconds before releasing.
    • Lower back rotation: Begin lying on your back with your feet on the floor and knees pointing to the sky. Roll knees to one side of the body, hold for 10 seconds, repeat on the other side.
    • Abdominal contractions: Begin lying on your back with your feet on the floor and knees pointing to the sky, contract abs and lift chest to the sky. Hold for five seconds.

    Exercises to aid in the management of upper back pain include:

    • Arm reach: Begin on your hands (in line to shoulders) and knees (in line with hips). Stretch one arm in front of you, hold for five seconds, release. Repeat on other side.
    • Butterfly: Place palms on shoulders with elbows pointing out. Slowly bring elbows together in front of body until you feel a stretch. Hold for five seconds.
    • Shoulder roll: Roll shoulders forward, slowly, making large circles. Reverse directions.

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Amwell can help you feel better faster. Register now for access to our online doctors 24 hours a day.