Back pain is a common reason for absence from work and for seeking medical treatment. It can be uncomfortable and debilitating. It can result from injury, activity and some medical conditions. Back pain can affect people of any age, for different reasons. As people get older, the chance of developing lower back pain increases, due to factors such as previous occupation and degenerative disk disease.
Lower back pain may be linked to the bony lumbar spine, discs between the vertebrae, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, lower back muscles, abdominal and pelvic internal organs, and the skin around the lumbar area.
Pain in the upper back may be due to disorders of the aorta, tumors in the chest, and spine inflammation. Fortunately, you can take measures to prevent or relieve most back pain episodes. If prevention fails, simple home treatment and proper body mechanics often will heal your back within a few weeks and keep it functional. Surgery is rarely needed to treat back pain.
Back pain often develops without a cause that your doctor can identify with a test or an imaging study. Conditions commonly linked to back pain include muscle or ligament strain, bulging or ruptured disks, arthritis, or osteoporosis. In the case of muscle or ligament strain, repeated heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement can strain back muscles and spinal ligaments. If you’re in poor physical condition, constant strain on your back can cause painful muscle spasms. In the case of bulging or ruptured disks, disks act as cushions between the bones (vertebrae) in your spine. The soft material inside a disk can bulge or rupture and press on a nerve. However, you can have a bulging or ruptured disk without back pain. Disk disease is often found incidentally when you have spine X-rays for some other reason. In some cases, arthritis in the spine can lead to a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord, a condition called spinal stenosis. In the case of osteoporosis, your spine’s vertebrae can develop painful fractures if your bones become porous and brittle.
Back pain usually resolves with rest and home remedies, but sometimes medical treatment is necessary.Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief medication, usually nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), such as ibuprofen, can relieve discomfort. Applying a hot compress or an ice pack to the painful area may also reduce pain. Resting from strenuous activity can help, but moving around will ease stiffness, reduce pain, and prevent muscles from weakening.
If home treatments do not relieve back pain, a doctor may recommend medication, physical therapy, or both. Back pain that does not respond well to OTC painkillers may require a prescription NSAID. Codeine or hydrocodone, which are narcotics, may be prescribed for short periods. These require close monitoring by the doctor. In some cases, muscle relaxants may be used. Physical therapy like applying heat, ice, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation — as well as some muscle-release techniques to the back muscles and soft tissues — may help alleviate pain.
As the pain improves, the physical therapist may introduce some flexibility and strength exercises for the back and abdominal muscles. Techniques for improving posture may also help.
The patient will be encouraged to practice the techniques regularly, even after the pain has gone, to prevent back pain recurrence.
The table below includes the most commonly used ICD-10 codes for back pain:
|ICD-10 Chapter||Codes||Code Description|
|13||M54.00||Panniculitis affecting regions of neck and back, site unspecified|
|13||M54.01||Panniculitis affecting regions of neck and back, occipito-atlanto-axial region|
|13||M54.02||Panniculitis affecting regions of neck and back, cervical region|
|13||M54.03||Panniculitis affecting regions of neck and back, cervicothoracic region|
|13||M54.04||Panniculitis affecting regions of neck and back, thoracic region|
|13||M54.05||Panniculitis affecting regions of neck and back, thoracolumbar region|
|13||M54.06||Panniculitis affecting regions of neck and back, lumbar region|
|13||M54.07||Panniculitis affecting regions of neck and back, lumbosacral region|
|13||M54.08||Panniculitis affecting regions of neck and back, sacral and sacrococcygeal region|
|13||M54.09||Panniculitis affecting regions, neck and back, multiple sites in spine|
|13||M54.10||Radiculopathy, site unspecified|
|13||M54.11||Radiculopathy, occipito-atlanto-axial region|
|13||M54.12||Radiculopathy, cervical region|
|13||M54.13||Radiculopathy, cervicothoracic region|
|13||M54.14||Radiculopathy, thoracic region|
|13||M54.15||Radiculopathy, thoracolumbar region|
|13||M54.16||Radiculopathy, lumbar region|
|13||M54.17||Radiculopathy, lumbosacral region|
|13||M54.18||Radiculopathy, sacral and sacrococcygeal region|
|13||M54.30||Sciatica, unspecified side|
|13||M54.31||Sciatica, right side|
|13||M54.32||Sciatica, left side|
|13||M54.40||Lumbago with sciatica, unspecified side|
|13||M54.41||Lumbago with sciatica, right side|
|13||M54.42||Lumbago with sciatica, left side|
|13||M54.5||Low back pain|
|13||M54.6||Pain in thoracic spine|
Author: Tonoya Ahmed