About Back Pain

What Are The Different Types of Back Pain?

Back pain can be divided into two types: Central (axial) pain and Peripheral (radicular/radiating) extremity pain. Many patients have both types.

What Causes Back Pain?

Back pain can have several causes. However the most common cause of back pain is age. Other lifestyle choices can also result in back pain: poor posture, ill-advised or awkward lifting, being overweight, or an accident.

How Can I Prevent Back Pain? 

To prevent back pain maintain good posture, exercise to keep your core flexible and strong, follow a healthy diet, and pay attention to your weight.

What Causes Acute Painful Vertebral Compression?

The most common reason for vertebral compression fractures is the presence of osteoporosis; other less common causes are trauma and cancer.

What Causes Facet Joints Issues?

The facet joints in our back and neck have cartilage that allows our back/neck to bend, twist, and flex. As we age, these joints can become degenerative or arthritic – the cartilage loses fluid and height, which can lead to a bone-on-bone condition often resulting in bone spur formation and chronic neck or lower back pain. Facet joint arthritis is one of the most common causes of chronic neck or lower back pain.

What Causes SI Joint Issues?

Degenerative arthritis/inflammation of the SI joints is a common cause of chronic low back/buttock pain. Patients often complain of chronic low back pain, groin pain, and sitting intolerance without associated leg pain.

Menopause and Fibroids: Should I Wait to Treat My Fibroids?

Many women who suffer from uterine fibroids—noncancerous tumors that grow in or on the muscle walls of the uterus—put off treatment because they are approaching menopause. While fibroids have been shown to shrink after “The Change,” this is not always the case.

Fibroids grow in part due to the amount of estrogen in a woman’s body. So, the changes in hormones that come with menopause can cause them to stop growing and even shrink. Every woman’s body is different, though, and fibroids can continue to grow. Some doctors believe there is an unknown substance secreted by fat cells that mimics the effect of estrogen on fibroids and makes them grow. Hormone replacement therapy during menopause can also cause fibroids growth.

And even if fibroids do shrink, this may not mean that the problems and symptoms associated with them will disappear completely. Some women continue to experience painful symptoms—including pelvic pressure, urinary urgency, and abdominal bloating—even after menopause.

Putting off treatment is not always in a woman’s best interest. Besides not knowing whether the fibroids will actually shrink after menopause, fibroids may actually grow in the years leading up to menopause due to increased estrogen production.

Right before menopause, when estrogen is removed from the body as the ovaries stop functioning, women will experience several months to years of estrogen-dominated menstrual cycles. Since fibroids are known to be estrogen-sensitive, this period in a woman’s life, which is essentially an “estrogen bath,” can be a time of fibroid growth.

“Waiting it out” until menopause for fibroids to shrink may result in years of growth and worsening symptoms of pain and bleeding. If you’re suffering from fibroids and approaching menopause, the best time to treat your fibroids may be now.

There is a minimally invasive, 90% effective option: Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). This minimally invasive procedure shrinks the fibroids to provide relief and is 90 percent effective in reducing symptoms caused by fibroids. The interventional radiologists at Indiana Fibroid Center are dedicated to helping you find relief from your fibroid pain.

Bicycling: An Exercise Option For Lower Back Pain

Bicycling is a popular form of exercise and is a good option for people who have problems with low back pain. Biking is less jarring to the spine than many other forms of exercise, such as running or aerobics. Stationary bicycling is particularly gentle on the spine, and spinning classes can be a good workout option without causing too much stress on the back. Reclining bicycles, also called recumbent bikes, can also help those with lower back pain who feel better in a reclining position.

Although biking can be a good exercise option for those with existing back pain, it can also cause back pain if not done properly.

How Biking Can Cause Back Pain
Poor posture on the bicycle can strain the back. Leaning over, with the back arched and head up, can strain both the back and neck. Riding on rough terrain can jar and compress the spine, which can also lead to back pain. A poorly fitting bike and weak core muscles can also contribute to a cyclist’s back pain.

How to Prevent Back Injuries from Biking
Cycling doesn’t have to be hard on the back…if you do it right. Follow these tips to help prevent back pain while biking.

  • Choose the Right Bike. Select the best bicycle for your purpose. For instance, if you are a casual bike rider, you don’t need a racing-style bike. A bicycle with higher, straighter handlebars will allow you to ride with a more upright posture, and bigger tires can provide more shock absorption. Buying a bike with some sort of suspension or other shock absorbing accessories can also help lessen back pain and injury.
  • Buy from a cycling shop, instead of a department store, so you can be properly fitted for the bike. Choosing one that is too big for you will cause you to hunch over to reach the handlebars, eventually leading to back pain. A trained salesperson can also properly adjust the height and angle of the seat and handlebars, providing the least amount of strain on your back.
  • After choosing the bike, take it on an extended ride to see how your back responds. Most cycling stores have areas specifically designed for test rides.
  • Maintain Proper Form When Biking. Proper posture while cycling is crucial if you want to avoid back pain. Try to keep your back straight, and avoid slouching or hunching your shoulders while riding. Distribute some of the weight to your arms and hands while keeping your chest and head up.
  • Keep your arms slightly bent while riding, which allows your upper body, rather than your spine, to absorb some of the vibrations and impact. Maintaining a 90-degree knee angle at the top of the stroke is more efficient and best for your hips and low back. Additionally, shifting positions and changing the angle of your upper body periodically will help prevent muscle fatigue.
  • Strengthen and Stretch. Biking does not specifically strengthen the body’s core muscles (the abdominals and back muscles), which most doctors feel are a critical component of preventing lower back pain. Even if you have strong legs—a cyclist’s most obvious source of power—a weak core can slow you down. Any exercise that strengthens your core, such as planks or swimming, will help reduce your potential for back injury while biking.
    Strengthening your buttocks and legs can also help reduce the risk of back pain. Weak and tired leg muscles can negatively impact a cyclist’s posture, putting him or her at risk for back pain. Increasing the strength in your legs and glutes before you begin cycling can reduce that risk.
  • Having a flexible back, in addition to a strong one, is crucial for enduring the posture required of cycling without leading to strains. Regular stretching, combined with yoga, can be a great way to keep your back limber, improve your posture, and avoid back pain.

What Causes Varicose Veins During Pregnancy?

So…you’re expecting a little bundle of joy! Congratulations! But, what you might not have expected were little bundles of veins—varicose veins—popping up all over your legs. Along with pregnancy, unfortunately, comes an increased risk of varicosities. Read on to learn more about how expecting a baby and this unsightly, and sometimes painful, side effect often go hand-in-hand.

What Causes Varicose Veins During Pregnancy?

Unfortunately, pregnancy itself is one of the major risk factors for varicose veins. Varicose veins develop when the valves that bring blood back to the heart from the legs become damaged. Blood pools in the veins, causing bulging, swelling, and discomfort. There are several causes of varicose veins during pregnancy:

  • Heredity. One of the biggest contributing factors of varicose veins is one you have no control over: heredity. If other women in your family have experienced varicose veins, the chances are greater that you will, too. Knowing your family’s history of varicose veins can help you know whether you are at a higher risk of getting them.
  • Increased blood volume. During pregnancy, a woman’s blood volume doubles to supply blood to both her and her baby. This increased volume puts extra pressure on the blood vessels, especially those in the legs, which have to work against gravity to push the extra blood back up to the heart. The speed at which a pregnant woman’s blood returns from her legs, in turn, decreases due to the heavy volume. These factors together increase the chances of blood pooling in the legs and ankles.
  • Hormones. Hormone levels rise during pregnancy, causing the vein walls to become more dilated and relaxed, resulting in an increased risk of varicosities.
  • Increased pressure from the uterus. As the uterus grows, it puts pressure on a large vein on the right side of the body, which increases pressure in the leg veins.
  • Additional factors. Being overweight, carrying multiples, and standing for long periods of time also increase a pregnant woman’s chances of developing varicose veins. Varicose veins also tend to get worse with age and with each subsequent pregnancy.

What Can I Do to Prevent Varicose Veins During Pregnancy?

While you can’t prevent all risk factors, especially a family history of varicose veins and hormonal changes, you can still take steps to help prevent or lessen the effects of varicose veins during pregnancy.

  • Watch your weight. Keep your weight within the recommended range for your stage of pregnancy. Extra weight only increases the demands on your already overworked circulatory system.
  • Get moving. Exercise is key in preventing varicose veins, so take a walk or participate in some other form of low-intensity exercise daily.

If you’re having pain, even if it’s just a dull ache, or are just generally worried about your varicose veins, don’t hesitate to get help.