Understanding the distinctions between nerve pain and muscular back pain is crucial in addressing back-related discomfort.
Both conditions, while affecting the back, have differing causes, symptoms, and treatment approaches.
Let’s explore these differences in detail to better grasp the nature of muscular back pain.
Nerve Pain and Muscular Back Pain: What Sets Them Apart?
Nerve pain, often associated with conditions like sciatica, is a result of impinged or compressed nerves, leading to symptoms like tingling, numbness, and shooting pain.
On the other hand, muscular back pain arises from strain, injury, or tension in the muscles of the back, resulting in localised discomfort and stiffness.
Symptoms of Muscular Back Pain and Nerve Pain
Muscular back pain typically exhibits symptoms that differ from nerve-related pain in the following way:
- Localised soreness or discomfort in specific muscle groups of the back
- Stiffness in the affected area
- Reduced range of motion due to muscle tightness
- Dull, aching sensations that are often alleviated by rest or mild movement
On the other hand, nerve pain can present some symptoms that overlap, such as pain in the affected region, and reduced range of motion, but other symptoms characteristic of nerve pain can appear. Some examples include numbness, tingling, and in extreme cases loss of bladder or bowel movement.
Causes of Muscular Back Pain and Nerve Pain
Various factors contribute to muscular pain, including:
- Poor posture or prolonged periods of sitting or standing, which can strain a muscle or muscle group
- Muscle strain due to sudden movements, heavy lifting, or overexertion, which can often happen during work (if you work in an environment that requires physical labour), or during workouts or sport activities
- Muscle tension or spasms
- Inadequate conditioning or muscle weakness
What all these conditions have in common is that they can be linked to compression of the spine, which is a spinal problem where the spinal column becomes squashed, and as a result presses down on other components along the spine.
Treatment Options for Muscular and Nerve Pain
Effective management of muscular back pain often involves the following approaches:
- Rest and activity modification by allowing the affected muscles time to recover and avoiding activities that exacerbate pain.
- Applying heat or ice packs to alleviate soreness and reduce inflammation.
- Engaging in exercises that target muscle strength, flexibility, and overall back health, such as physical therapy exercises.
- Using pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications under professional guidance.
- Sometimes getting a massage can help loosen up tense muscles and improving blood flow to the affected area.
Nerve pain treatment should instead focus on releasing the trapped nerve, which is the trigger for the resulting symptoms. To alleviate this type of pain, it is best to decompress the spine, which is often the underlying cause of it.
Decompressing the spine is also beneficial in reducing back muscle pain, as the spine is massaged in the process.
To decompress the spine, using a spinal decompression device like the Spinal Backrack can be beneficial.