Back Pain

An overview of back pain and treatment options ...

There are 3 regions of the spine known as your cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine, or more commonly referred to as the neck, midback, and low back. Overall low back pain, sciatic nerve pain, and middle back pain are often related, but it is possible to have one and not the others. In most cases people will experience low back pain first and then their pain may refer down the leg (sciatic nerve pain) or into the middle back. Let's look at these areas in more detail ...

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is a common problem in most of the general population.

This region of the spine is called your lumbar spine. Low back pain can occur spontaneously and can involve one or more of the many structures of the spine such as bone, joints, ligaments, nerves, or muscles. Low back pain can be quite debilitating for some people but in most cases, it is not life threatening and will resolve within a few days.

You may notice your symptoms get better or worse with changes in positions, such as sitting, lying, or even standing. Common causes of this type of low back pain are lifting a heavy object or twisting when lifting, poor posture, sudden movements that increase stress in the low back, and sports or work-related injuries.

Other causes include facet joint pain, degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, trauma such as a compression fracture, and spondylolisthesis.

Sciatic nerve pain or "Sciatica"...

Sciatic nerve pain or ‘sciatica’ refers to pain that is referred along the pathway of the sciatic nerve in the lower extremity.

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. It originates in your lumbar spine and travels down the buttock and posterior leg. In most cases, symptoms of sciatic nerve pain will run along the pathway of this nerve and usually occurs on one side of the body. As your leg symptoms start to decrease, you may notice increased low back pain which is a normal response and indicates improvement of symptoms.

Common causes of this type of low back and sciatic nerve pain are disc herniations and lumbar stenosis.

Upper/Middle Back Pain

In addition to low back pain and sciatic nerve pain, you may experience upper back pain also known as middle back pain.

This region of your spine is known as the thoracic spine. When there is dysfunction in the low back, the thoracic spine works harder to assist with movement, and therefore can become painful. The thoracic spine is responsible for most of the rotation in the spine.

When the middle back becomes stiff, your low back must compensate, placing increased pressure through the lumbar spine and causing low back pain.

Consequently, these two problems can go hand in hand.

When to contact your doctor

Contact your doctor If you are experiencing any of the following:

- Unremitting, severe pain that does not improve with changes in position
- Bilateral severe leg pain
- Loss of bowel/bladder
- Numbness/tingling in groin area
- Loss of coordination and balance with walking
- Severe night pain


It is important to note that movement is necessary for the treatment low back pain. Early resumption of activity although likely modified will improve your outcome of recovery. Treatment can include medications, physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, dry needling/IMS, etc.

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Locations & Hours

10 Convenient Locations in Calgary. All Physiotherapy clinics have morning and evening appointments available to meet the demands of your busy schedule. Saturday appointments are available at select locations.
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Panther Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Centres are a network of ten clinics, physiotherapist operated, serving Calgary and surrounding areas. Our team offers a wide range of services including physiotherapy, massage therapy, and sports injury rehabilitation to help our clients reduce pain and recover from injuries. Panther Sports Medicine has been proudly serving our community for over 30 years.
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11950 Country Village Link NE
Calgary, AB

10003 - 24th Street SW
Calgary, AB

2010, 356 Cranston Road SE
Calgary, AB

11150 Bonaventure Drive SE
Calgary, AB

4995 Market Street SE
Calgary, AB

Suite 102, 83 Deerpoint Rd. SE
Calgary, AB

425 Marlborough Way NE
Calgary, AB

333 Shawville Blvd SE
Calgary, AB

210 - 11 McKenzie Towne Avenue SE
Calgary, AB

130, 19606 Walden Blvd SE
Calgary, AB
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