Is Your Chronic Pain Specific or Nonspecific?

Is Your Chronic Pain Specific or Nonspecific?

Back pain is one of the hardest types of chronic pain to diagnose and treat. There are so many joints and muscles in the back that, unless a physician has a clear-cut reason to suspect a certain cause, diagnosis can be difficult. That leads us to main point of this post: specific and nonspecific pain.

If you are suffering from chronic back pain, is your pain specific or nonspecific? There is an easy way to tell – at least for a pain doctor with plenty of experience dealing with back issues. Here at our Texas pain clinic, back pain is something we see quite frequently.

Nonspecific Pain

Let us start by talking about nonspecific back pain. This particular category encompasses most of the minor back pain issues people experience. It is called nonspecific because there is no known mechanical or physiological cause. A doctor could run a battery of tests and not find anything conspicuously wrong.

This is not to say that nonspecific pain is not real. It absolutely is. We just call it nonspecific because we cannot find a specific cause. Most cases of nonspecific back pain resolve on their own, by the way.

Specific Back Pain

By now, you might have already guessed that specific back pain is categorized as such because a specific cause is identified. Causes of this sort of pain are in some way mechanical or physiological. We can run tests and figure out exactly what is going on.

Some of the most common causes of specific back pain are:

  • Pulled Muscles – Back pain caused by pulled muscles is fairly common. A person may lift something incorrectly or turn just the right way to pull a muscle. The damage is no more severe than a sprained ankle or a pulled leg muscle.
  • Herniated Discs – Also known as slipped discs, herniated discs are discs that are bulging or protruding out from the bones on either side. Herniated discs irritate nearby nerves, causing pain, numbness, and weakness.
  • Degenerative Disc Disease – Bones in the spine can degenerate just as easily as knee and hip joints. Degenerative disc disease can cause chronic pain as a result of individual bones in the spine grinding on one another.
  • Spinal Stenosis – Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spaces through which nerves travel gradually narrow. This puts obvious pressure on the nerves within the spine, causing chronic pain that often appears in the lower back and/or the neck.
  • Scoliosis – A sideways curvature of the spine is known as scoliosis. This condition most often occurs during growth spurts prior to puberty. It can cause chronic pain throughout a person’s lifetime, especially when spinal deformity is severe.

These five causes of chronic back pain by no means constitute an exhaustive list. We know of, and treat, many other back issues here in our Texas pain clinic. We treat each patient on a case-by-case basis commensurate with our diagnosis following an exhaustive examination.

Treating Chronic Back Pain

The most common back pain treatments at most clinics revolve around pharmacological solutions. What makes us different is our reluctance to immediately reach for the prescription pad. We believe that a far better approach is one of seeing if we can figure out the root causes of back pain rather than merely treating the symptoms alone.

There are many different treatments that have proven effective for back pain. If you are suffering from chronic pain, we would like the opportunity to explore those treatments with you. We might be able to offer you the relief you so desperately want and deserve.

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