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Symptoms, causes, and treatments for Back Pain

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Back Pain


Symptoms of Back Pain

Back pain is a symptom of an underlying condition. The source of your back pain could be one of several distinct disorders.


Back pain is classified in two ways: acute and chronic. Acute back pain is temporary and not generally indicative of a long-term disorder. Chronic back pain, however, is an ongoing episode of pain that doesn’t ever fully disappear. Chronic back pain should be treated by a doctor to determine the cause.


Generally, back pain includes the following symptoms:


  • Dull aching pain
  • Increased pain after sitting too long
  • Numb or tingling sensation in your lower back
  • Poor range of motion
  • Pulsating pain from your leg down to your foot
  • Straightening your spine causes pain

Causes of Back Pain

Many day-to-day lifestyle factors, from office work to helping a friend move, can cause back pain. Generally, back pain means there’s been some damage to your muscles or ligaments. In more serious injuries, your back pain could be caused by damaged vertebrae.


If you have concerns about chronic back pain, schedule an on-demand ZOOM+Care visit and our doctors will diagnose the cause.


Common causes of back pain include:


  • Injuries to your vertebrae
  • Lack of proper stretching before high-impact exercise
  • Muscle or ligament strain from improper lifting of heavy loads
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Recent physical activity
  • Scoliosis
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking

Should I Be Worried?

Millions of Americans live with back pain each and every day. However, certain specific symptoms should raise concerns and could require immediate medical attention:


  • General pain following trauma like a major fall or car accident
  • Incontinence
  • Individuals with osteoporosis experiencing back pain
  • Numbness in both legs
  • Severe abdomen pain
  • Unexplained, rapid weight loss


Even if you don’t have these additional symptoms, you should see a doctor if your back pain persists for two or more weeks.


Schedule a back pain visit online or from our iOS app today.


Find a neighborhood ZOOM+Care clinic near you in Portland, Seattle, Salem, or Vancouver.

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Back Pain Prevention Tips


Consider these tips to help prevent back pain:


  • Exercise. If you live a sedentary lifestyle at work and home, a bit of exercise and proper stretching can help build the abdominal and back muscles necessary to avoid acute and chronic back pain as you age.
  • Non-prescription meds. If your back pain persists for more than two weeks, schedule a ZOOM+Care visit and our doctors will figure out what’s up. But if you have short-term pain, some ibuprofen or naproxen might help. Ask a pharmacist about which non-prescription pain medications they recommend.
  • Lift properly. What did your gym teacher always say? “Bend at the knees!” Well, they were right: don’t lift heavy objects bent over and with your back. Instead, let those legs share the load.

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