Integrative Spine & Sports provides back pain treatment in Manhattan, NYC at our Upper West Side Spine and Sports Medicine Practice.
For people who live or work in the busy city of Manhattan, back pain can be draining, frustrating, and sometimes overwhelming.
Unfortunately, at some point in their lives, most people will probably experience back pain. Often times, back pain can be the result of a sprain or strain and can go away in a few days to a few weeks. Other times, however, back pain can be a sign of something more serious.
Here we explain the most common symptoms associated with back pain and the back pain treatment methods our specialists use to get our patients on the road to recovery.
Our approach to treating back pain
We offer non-surgical options for the treatment of injuries and medical conditions affecting the back, with an integrative approach that may include:
Back Pain Specialists
Our back pain specialists in Manhattan create custom treatments designed to meet the needs of people suffering from acute pain due to injury, as well as those experiencing chronic conditions affecting the muscles, discs, soft tissue and nerves within the back, cervical spine, and neck.
Our team, consisting of a board-certified physiatrist, chiropractors, and physical therapists, offers comprehensive treatment for acute and chronic back pain treatment in NYC.
What back conditions can you treat?
We offer non-surgical back pain treatment in NYC for the following conditions:
What are the signs & symptoms of back pain?
The main symptom of back pain is pain anywhere in the back. The pain can also reach as far down as the buttocks and legs.
Common signs & symptoms of back pain:
- Dull aching sensation in the lower back
- Stabbing or shooting pain that can radiate down the leg to the foot
- Inability to stand up straight without pain
- Decreased range of motion and diminished ability to flex the back
Often, back pain goes away on its own. But in some cases, back pain can be a symptom of something worse.
We recommend consulting a physiatrist as soon as possible if you experience back pain with any of the following:
- A recent injury, trauma, or blow to the back
- Difficulty urinating (urinary hesitancy)
- Loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence)
- Loss of bowel movement control (fecal incontinence)
- Numbness around the genitals, anus, buttocks, or legs
- Pain that reaches down the legs or below the knees
- Swelling in back area
- Unexplained weight loss
Sometimes, back pain can happen because of strain or misuse. In such cases, it usually goes away after a period of days to weeks.
But if your back pain doesn’t improve after 3 weeks of rest, consult your physiatrist as soon as possible.
What are the causes of back pain?
Back pain has many causes. Some often happen because of bad habits but are easily fixed with a few changes. Some, however, are more serious and require medical attention.
The most common reasons for back pain are sprains and strains.
A sprain is a stretch/tear in a ligament, while a strain is the same thing but for muscles or tendons.
Back sprains/strains tend to go away after a period of days to weeks, even without medical intervention.
If you’re suffering from back pain because of a sprain/strain, you can recover faster with a few simple changes which we’ll talk about below.
Common causes of back strain/sprain:
- Bad posture
- Weak back or abdominal muscles
- Being overweight
Bad posture is a very common cause of back sprains/strains, especially for people with sedentary lifestyles such as people with desk jobs or don’t get much physical activity.
Signs of bad posture:
- Rounded shoulders
- Hunching over keyboard or phone
- Leaning on 1 leg
- Poking chin out while sitting (usually at the desk)
- Slouching too much or curving back excessively
- Standing with a flat back
- Sticking butt out while standing
Bad posture is often built over time, as a result of bad habits. Often, though, bad posture can still be fixed with a few simple changes.
Signs of good posture:
- Body weight distributed evenly on both feet
- Chin parallel to the floor
- Even hips
- Even knees, pointing straight ahead
- Even shoulders
- Neutral spine (lower back curve isn’t overemphasized)
To achieve good posture, it’s a good idea to actively pay attention to your posture at any given time. Whenever you fall back into your old habits, catch yourself and try again.
You can do posture stretches for just 5 minutes a day. If you do these consistently, you should start seeing results in just a few weeks.
Sometimes, however, stretching everyday just doesn’t cut it. You might still suffer from poor posture despite consistent stretching.
In these cases, bad posture could be a result of a weak core or excessive weight, which leads us to our next point.
Your back and abdominal muscles make up your core. This part of your body is responsible for keeping you upright. Because of this, they play a massive role in determining how good your posture is.
A weak core (usually from a lack of physical activity) will struggle to support the spine whether sitting or standing. This puts unnecessary pressure on the spine, which can lead to a sprain/strain.
To strengthen the core, we recommend doing core-strengthening exercises for at least 5 minutes a day — even simple ab exercises, yoga, or Pilates will help strengthen the core enough to reduce bad posture.
There are also specific stretches for improving posture. They should only take 5 minutes and minimal effort. But take note that, for their effects to be noticeable, you must be consistent with doing these stretches every day.
People who are overweight or obese are at much greater risk of back pain than people with healthy weights.
The reason for this is because the excess body weight often places a lot of pressure on the back and hips, which often leads to back pain.
Often times, an overweight person’s center of gravity shifts because of the excess weight. This forces the spine to lean towards an unnatural direction and compress unnaturally.
This shift in the person’s center of gravity, if left unaddressed, can have long-term detrimental effects.
Sometimes, back pain can persist or worsen. This usually happens because of a condition or injury. In such cases, it’s unwise to leave the back pain to heal on its own.
Unlike with back sprains/strains, delaying medical help can aggravate the pain and have more serious, long-lasting effects.
So if you’ve experienced any of the following, consult your doctor immediately:
- Herniated disc – a spine injury that often occurs after a single excessive strain on the spine
- Degenerative disc disease – happens when one or more of the discs in the spinal column breaks down, often due to age or when bearing too much weight
- Osteoarthritis – can happen due to eroding cartilage and inflammation
- Spinal stenosis – can happen when the spinal canal narrows due to degeneration
Back Pain FAQs
Some of the common symptoms of COVID-19 are “aches and pains”. Some patients do experience back pain, especially in the lower back. In some cases, the pain is subtle but constant. In others, it is an intense, pulsating pain, which can radiate down to the legs. If the back pain persists, consult your doctor.
Generally, the best position to sleep is on your back. Sleeping on one’s back ensures that the spine is in a neutral position, which can help with back pain. You can also put a pillow under your knees, legs, and/or lower back to support the natural curve of the spine. This can minimize lumbar pressure and relieve back pain.
If doing gentle back stretches doesn’t do the trick, then try strengthening your core so your spine isn’t struggling to stay upright. Heat therapy and cold therapy can also work well for pain relief. If your back pain is a result of poor posture or a bad workstation setup, make the necessary changes to avoid back pain in the future.
Your back pain is likely serious if it occurs with any of the following symptoms: numbness in lower body, loss of bladder/bowel control, fever, unexplained weight loss, swelling. In such cases, please consult a physiatrist immediately.
Short-term (or acute) back pain lasts a few days to a few weeks. This is often the case with back pain, and patients usually recover without medical treatment. Sometimes, it lasts for 12 weeks or longer. This is called chronic back pain, and it can take a while to go away. Medical treatment often helps relieve chronic backpain, so we recommend consulting a physiatrist.
Acupuncture provides short-term relief for chronic back pain. Back pain is actually the number 1 reported reason people seek acupuncture. By stimulating the various acupuncture points associated with back pain, parts of the nervous system are also stimulated, which can help provide pain relief.