Question

Back Pain

How do I know if my neck and back pain is muscular?

A Answers (2)

  • ARonald Tolchin, DO, Physical Medicine/rehabilitation, answered on behalf of Baptist Health South Florida

    Your doctor can rule out certain medical conditions that may be the cause of the neck and back pain. It may require comprehensive physical examination and diagnostic testing if deemed necessary.

    If there was no obvious injury, the pain could be muscular in nature from overstraining, or it could be the result of disc disorder. Either way, physical therapy may be prescribed to condition, stretch and loosen the neck and back muscles to relieve the pain.

    When the herniated disc ruptures and pushes out, the nerves may become pinched. A herniated disc may occur suddenly, such as with a fall or an accident, or it could happen gradually with repetitive straining of the spine. This may lead to you developing weakness and or numbness in a specific nerve distribution.  Both conditions should be assessed by a physician.

  • AGerald M. Silverman, Chiropractic Medicine, answered
    You and your doctor must first rule out a serious underlying medical problem or direct physical trauma such as injury from falling, being struck by an object, or being in a violent car accident, and if no red flags are present, the next step is to evaluate the history, characteristics, and location of your neck and back muscle pain.

    The primary history for the onset of muscular neck and back pain is:

    • Pain that began gradually or for no apparent reason
    • Pain that began with a mild to moderate strain
    • Pain that starts or gets worse after you stay in one position

    The primary characteristics of muscular neck and back pain are:

    • Pain that comes and goes
    • Pain that is worse in the morning and gradually gets better as the day goes on
    • Pain that you can describe as a tightness, pulling, achiness, or soreness
    • Pain that with prolonged positioning causes a burning or tingling that goes away with movement

    The primary location of muscular pain is:

    • A specific, local area the size of a fist or smaller
    • A nonspecific, broad, or beltlike pattern across the central lower back
    • An entire region of your neck or back (in severe cases)
Did You See?  Close
Why is an MRI better than a CT scan for diagnosing back pain?