Your back is a small area, but there are so many interconnected nerves that run through it that pinpointing a problem pain isn’t always easy. When the pain in your back is ongoing and severe, you could be experiencing something called dorsalgia.

The signs and symptoms of dorsalgia vary based on the intensity of the condition and your unique physical characteristics. If you have had ongoing pain in your back and aren’t sure what the problem is, a chiropractic appointment is the best way to get a diagnosis and plan of treatment for recovery.

Once you’ve been diagnosed with dorsalgia, it’s important to understand how the condition occurred and what you can do to help yourself recover.

What is Dorsalgia?

There are multiple severity levels of back pain, from an annoying irritant that bothers you occasionally to pain so severe you can’t do even the basics necessary to have a good quality of living. The pain that comes with dorsalgia is usually severe and can disrupt your daily living habits.

Dorsalgia is the label for any severe back pain that starts in the muscles, nerves, and joints of the back.

There are six types of dorsalgia that exist, all radiating from a particular site in your spine: cervical, cervicothoracic, thoracic, thoracolumbar, lumbar, and lumbosacral.

How serious your pain is typically is related to the area of the spine hurting and the cause of the problem. The diagnosis of dorsalgia includes anything related to the spinal pain, but it excludes specific conditions that have their own diagnosis, such as scoliosis and lordosis.

What Causes Dorsalgia to Occur?

There are thousands of potential causes of back pain, and any one of those could be the reason for yours. But if you were diagnosed with dorsalgia, chances are, the culprit was one of these factors:

  • A bulging disc
  • A herniated disc
  • An injury such as a car accident, sports-related incident, slip and fall, or physical altercation
  • Overuse from ongoing difficult physical exertion or labor
  • Chronic, ongoing stress

Any of these situations could have caused your severe back pain. Your chiropractor or physical therapist can help you determine the trigger of your pain so that you can work to avoid setting it off in the future.

How Do You Know if You Have Dorsalgia?

Back pain itself is not enough to be assigned the diagnosis of dorsalgia, and you can’t determine it yourself, either. To narrow down the cause of your severe pain to this condition, a specialist will give you a physical examination.

Symptoms of dorsalgia are determined based on an evaluation of things like how you move, including sitting, standing, walking, and lifting your legs. A full detailed explanation of your pain, such as when it begins, what helps alleviate the discomfort, and the type of pain are all helpful in aiding your provider in determining the cause.

Let your doctor know if your back hurts when you move, what types of movements cause the most pain, and if there’s a specific time of the day when it hurts more than others. Your provider will also need to know all of your past medical history, if there’s a family history of back pain, how you’ve been treating your pain at home, and if you’re on any medications.

After the physical evaluation, your physician may decide that further testing is necessary. They may send you for an EMG to check your nerves or an x-ray or MRI for internal imaging studies.

How is Dorsalgia Treated?

Most cases of dorsalgia can be treated through conservative therapy. If your symptoms were caught in the early stages, this type of therapy is effective at resolving the pain and helping to stave off further symptoms through preventative care.

Conservative treatment at PhyxMe Physical Therapy and Chiropractic in Chicago includes measures such as physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments, and massage therapy. If these typical conservative treatments don’t get rid of the pain, your specialist may recommend other avenues of care.

Occasionally, the severity of dorsalgia is so intense that it doesn’t respond to conservative care. If your chiropractor determines that the condition causing your pain is too severe for treatment, he or she may recommend you see a surgeon.

Surgical options are usually a last-case scenario. These are necessary and effective, though, when a patient has severe herniated discs, needs a spinal fusion to alleviate pain, or has so much pain that the surgical procedure is the fastest and most efficient way to help the individual return to a good quality of life.

Get a Handle on Your Dorsalgia Today

If you think you may have dorsalgia or you have already been diagnosed with this condition, contact Phyx Me Physical Therapy and Chiropractic to see how we can treat your pain. With conservative physical therapy measures and chiropractic care, we can reduce or relieve your discomfort and help you understand what’s going on inside your body to prevent future pain.