The guide to back pain treatments

Back pain is one of the most common health conditions people face: 80% of adults on the planet will have at least one episode of back pain in their lifetime. However, back pain can be caused by many factors and thus, will not always be treated the same way. For example, back pain caused by a herniated disc may require neuro-spinal decompression or in rare cases surgery, while back pain caused by muscle tension may only require a warm bath with Epsom salt and rest, while spinal displacement (misalignment) may only require some osteopathic treatment.


It is important to seek the appropriate treatment for the type of back pain you have as soon as possible to avoid further complications: many types of back pain will naturally worsen over time. As you can see, there are almost as many different types of treatments as there are types of back pain. What's more, the treatment can vary depending on the cause of the back pain. It is important that people consult a back specialist to discuss their back pain in order to determine the best treatment plan available. A back expert, like the one at TAGMED, can assess the cause of your back pain and provide you with a treatment plan that is appropriate for your condition. Here, we don't treat everyone the same: we have the skills and equipment to provide the best possible treatment for you.


I repeat: back pain is a complex problem and not all causes are treated in the same way.


Of course, getting an accurate diagnosis and the right treatment is essential for YOUR BACK PAIN to ensure full recovery. If you have back pain, contact TAGMED to start your journey back to health today


Your back health is in expert hands at TAGMED. Our back experts provide comprehensive assessments, customized treatments and quality care with over 30 years of experience in the field and high-tech equipment not found anywhere else in the industry.


Young Man With Back Pain In The Office


Symptoms of back pain

The symptoms of back pain can range from mild to severe and vary depending on the cause. Common symptoms of back pain include a dull ache, tenderness or stiffness in the back, as well as muscle spasms and sharp pains. Other signs of back pain may include tingling or numbness in the back, difficulty moving certain joints or constant back pain.

  • Back pain : Persistent pain and discomfort felt in the back area.
  • Stiffness: Rigidity and lack of flexibility in the muscles or joints of the back.
  • Stitches: Sudden and intense pain felt in the back.
  • Burns: Sensation of heat or burning in the region of the back.
  • Muscle spasms : Involuntary and sudden contractions of the back muscles.
  • Tingling or numbness: Abnormal tingling or numbness in the back.
  • Difficulty walking: Problems moving around due to pain or weakness in the back.
  • Difficult to get up from a sitting position Problems moving from sitting to standing due to back pain or stiffness.
  • Very sore back for the first 30 to 60 minutes after waking up in the morning Severe pain in the back felt soon after waking up.
  • Pain in the buttock: Discomfort or pain felt in the buttock area.
  • Radiating pain in the thigh: Pain felt along the thigh, in the front, side or back.
  • Radiating pain in the groin: Pain that spreads to the groin area.
  • Pain radiating to the knee: Pain that spreads to the knee.
  • Calf pain: Discomfort or pain felt in the calf area.
  • Foot pain: Pain felt on the top, side or bottom of the foot.
  • Pain after a few minutes sitting: Pain in the back that occurs after a short period of sitting.
  • Pain after a few minutes standing and leaning slightly forward: Pain in the back after standing and leaning slightly forward for some time, such as when washing dishes.


Attention: it is not because you have one or more of these symptoms that you necessarily only have back pain. For example, although groin pain could be caused by an irritated or compressed nerve from a herniated disc or arthritic foraminal stenosis, it could just as easily be traumatic, muscular, joint or inflammatory in nature (Ex . premature wear of the cartilage of the hip). A more serious pathology could be at the origin of your symptoms: sometimes, this groin pain symptom could be secondary to a urinary or digestive tract pathology. Now you understand the complexity of a so-called simple back pain.


Causes of back pain

Back pain can have many causes, ranging from minor to serious. The most common causes are muscle strains, herniated discs, arthritis and poor posture. Osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, vertebral fractures and sacroiliac joint dysfunction are other causes of back pain. Here are some of the most common causes of back pain, along with additional information about each cause:

  1. Muscle strains: Muscle strains occur when muscles or ligaments in the back are stretched or torn. This can result from strenuous physical activity, a sudden movement or an accident. Muscle strains usually cause sharp pain and may be accompanied by muscle spasms.

  2. Sprain: A sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched or torn, usually as a result of a sudden movement, fall or accident. Sprains cause sharp pain, swelling, and reduced mobility.

  3. Herniated disc: A herniated disc occurs when an intervertebral disc, located between the vertebrae of the spine, shifts or ruptures. This can lead to compression of surrounding nerves, causing sharp, radiating pain in the back, buttocks, and legs.

  4. Spinal displacement (misalignment): Vertebral displacement, also known as vertebral subluxation, occurs when vertebrae are misaligned. This can lead to nerve compression and back pain. Spinal displacements can result from an accident, poor posture or repetitive movements.

  5. Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that occurs when the protective cartilage that covers the ends of bones gradually deteriorates. This wear and tear can be caused by several factors, such as aging, injury, inflammation and overuse of the joints. Symptoms of osteoarthritis typically include pain, stiffness, loss of mobility, and in some cases joint deformities.

    Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body, including the facet joints of the spine. When it affects the spine, osteoarthritis can cause nerve compression and pain in the back, neck and limbs. Treatment for osteoarthritis of the spine may include medication to relieve pain and inflammation, strengthening and stretching exercises to improve mobility and function, corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation, and, in some cases, surgery to correct deformities or stabilize the joints.

    It is important to note that osteoarthritis is a progressive disease, which means that it can get worse over time if not treated properly. People with osteoarthritis should work closely with their doctor and other healthcare professionals to develop a comprehensive, personalized treatment plan to manage their symptoms and prevent future complications.

  1. Bad posture: Poor posture, such as hunching over or sitting for long periods of time, can lead to back strain and pain. Poor posture can also cause muscle imbalances and spinal problems.

  2. Disc bulge: Disc bulging is a condition in which the intervertebral disc shifts slightly out of its normal position without rupturing. This condition can cause mild to moderate pain and can progress to a herniated disc if left untreated.

  3. Foraminal or vertebral stenosis: Foraminal or vertebral stenosis is a narrowing of spaces in the spine, which can compress nerves and cause back pain. This condition is often caused by arthritis or osteoarthritis and can cause sharp, radiating pain.

  4. Disc narrowing: Disc narrowing is a compression of the intervertebral discs due to the decrease in space between the vertebrae. This can cause back pain and mobility issues.

  5. Desiccation or dehydration of the disc: Disc desiccation or dehydration is a condition in which the intervertebral discs lose their hydration and become more rigid. This can cause back pain and reduced mobility.

  6. Facet arthritis: Facet osteoarthritis is a degeneration of the facet joints located between the vertebrae of the spine. This condition can cause pain and stiffness in the back, as well as decreased mobility.

  7. Vertebral fractures: Vertebral fractures occur when one or more vertebrae are damaged or broken, usually as a result of trauma, a fall, or an underlying disease. Spinal fractures can cause severe pain and often require immediate medical treatment.

  8. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction (displacement of the pelvis): Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is a condition in which the sacroiliac joint, located between the sacrum and the iliac bone, becomes unstable or dysfunctional. This condition can cause pain in the lower back, buttocks, and legs.


Diagnosis of back pain

Diagnosing back pain requires a comprehensive approach, using a combination of diagnostic tests and a thorough physical examination. TAGMED's back specialist is experienced in diagnosing the cause of back pain, not just the symptoms.

The back expert will begin with a thorough review of your medical history. This includes details about your back pain, such as when it started, what makes it better or worse, any other symptoms you may have, and any previous back injuries or treatments.

A trained back professional will then perform a physical examination to evaluate the muscles and joints in your back. This examination may include tests such as X-rays, MRIs, CT scans or ultrasounds. Based on the results of these tests, the back specialist may recommend additional tests.

  • History of the patient's health condition: It is a collection of information about the patient's past and present health problems, including illnesses, surgeries, medical treatments and medications used.

  • Review of medical history: Evaluation of the patient's medical history, including family illnesses, allergies, lifestyle habits and risk factors for certain conditions.

  • Physical examination: Assessment of the general health of the patient using techniques of observation, palpation, percussion and auscultation. This may include checking vital signs, examining body systems, and assessing mobility and muscle strength.

  • X-rays: A medical imaging technique that uses x-rays to visualize internal body structures, particularly bones and joints, to help diagnose various conditions.

  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): A non-invasive medical imaging technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to obtain detailed images of the body's internal organs and tissues, helping to diagnose and monitor various medical conditions.

  • SCAN or axial tomography (CT): Medical imaging technique that uses x-rays to create cross-sectional images of the body. CT provides detailed images of bones, organs, and tissues, helping to diagnose various conditions and plan medical treatments.

  • Fluoroscopy: A real-time medical imaging technique that uses X-rays to visualize internal body structures in motion. Fluoroscopy is often used to guide medical and surgical procedures or to study the functioning of internal organs.



Patient In Mri Scanning Room


A patient's history can help identify:

  • Dominant back or leg pain: This is a pain that manifests mainly either in the back region or in the leg. The pain may be localized to a specific location or felt over a larger area, depending on the underlying cause.

  • Intermittent or constant pain: Intermittent pain occurs in episodes and alternates with painless periods, while constant pain is present continuously, without respite. The nature of the pain can help determine the cause and guide appropriate treatment.

  • Associated aggravating movement: These are specific movements or activities that exacerbate the pain experienced by the patient. Identifying these movements can help determine the cause of pain and avoid actions that cause symptoms to worsen.

  • Non-mechanical vs. mechanical pain: Mechanical pain is usually caused by structural problems or tissue damage, and is often made worse by movement or position. Non-mechanical pain is generally less influenced by movement and can be caused by infections, inflammations or vascular problems, among others.

  • The presence of a red flag or a medical emergency (e.g. cauda equina syndrome): Red flags are signs or symptoms that indicate a medical emergency or potentially serious condition that requires immediate attention. For example, cauda equina syndrome is a medical emergency characterized by compression of the nerves at the base of the spine, which can lead to loss of motor and sensory function as well as problems with bladder control and intestines.



Physical examination of the patient can help determine if:

  • There is muscle tenderness or spasm: During the physical exam, the healthcare professional assesses muscle tenderness by gently palpating the painful area. A muscle spasm can be detected by excessive tension or involuntary tightening of the muscle. The presence of muscle tenderness or spasm may indicate an underlying problem such as injury, inflammation, or muscle tension.

  • There is a deformation or mass: The healthcare professional will visually and palpate the affected area for any deformity, such as an abnormal curvature of the spine, or a mass, such as a tumor or cyst. These abnormalities may indicate a structural cause of the pain, such as a fracture, herniated disc, or tumor.

  • There is a limitation of the range of motion: Range of motion refers to the ability of a joint to move freely in all directions. The healthcare professional will ask the patient to perform various movements to assess the range of motion of the spine and other involved joints. A limitation in range of motion can be due to joint problems, adhesions, or soft tissue damage.

  • There is a neurological deficit: A neurological deficit is an alteration of nerve function, which can manifest itself in muscle weakness, sensory disturbances or abnormal reflexes. The healthcare professional will perform specific tests to assess the patient's neurological function, such as muscle strength tests, skin sensitivity tests, and reflex tests. A neurological deficit may indicate nerve damage, such as nerve compression due to a herniated disc or spinal stenosis.


Pain In Neck


Treatment of back pain

Treatment for back pain can vary depending on the cause and severity of the pain. Treatment options generally include conservative and more advanced methods. For mild back pain, conservative treatments such as rest, heat/cold therapy, stretching and massage may be recommended. Over-the-counter medications may be used, depending on your doctor's advice.

For more severe back pain, a back specialist may recommend neurovertebral decompression, physical therapy, injections or surgery.

  • Rest: It is essential to rest when suffering from back pain to allow the body to heal. However, prolonged rest is not recommended, as it can lead to muscle weakness and worsen pain. Check out our guide for activities and exercises to avoid so as not to make your condition worse.(see our guide to find out which activity or exercise to avoid)
  • Heat or cold therapy: Applying heat or cold can help relieve back pain by reducing inflammation and promoting muscle relaxation. Check out our guide on when to use heat or cold depending on your situation. (see our guide on when to use heat or cold)
  • Neurovertebral decompression: This non-surgical treatment aims to relieve pressure on the intervertebral discs and nerves, which can reduce pain and improve mobility. It can be performed using a specialized medical device or by a healthcare professional.

  • Over-the-counter medications or medications prescribed by your doctor Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), pain relievers, and muscle relaxants can be used to relieve back pain. They can be obtained over the counter or prescribed by your doctor depending on the severity of your pain and your medical history.

  • Spinal manipulations or manual medicine therapy (e.g. osteopathy): Healthcare professionals, such as osteopaths, chiropractors, or physical therapists, may use manual techniques to adjust or manipulate the spine and relieve pain. These treatments aim to improve the mobility and function of the spinal joints.

  • Injections: Injections of corticosteroids or local anesthetics may be given to reduce inflammation and relieve pain in specific areas of the back. These injections are usually prescribed by a doctor and administered by a healthcare professional.

  • Surgery : Surgery is generally considered an option of last resort for back pain that does not respond to conservative treatments. Surgical procedures may include spinal fusion, discectomy, or laminectomy. The decision to have surgery should be made in consultation with your doctor, who will assess the potential risks and benefits of the procedure.



Causes of back pain Spinal decompression Osteopathy Medications Injections Efficiency
Muscle strains Not recommended Yes Yes Sometimes Variable
Sprain Not recommended Yes Yes Sometimes Variable
Herniated disc Yes Yes Yes Yes Good
Vertebral displacement (misalignment) Yes Yes No No Good
Osteoarthritis Yes Yes Yes Yes Good
Bad posture Not recommended Yes No No Variable
Disc bulge Yes Yes Yes Yes Good
Foraminal or spinal stenosis Yes Yes Yes Yes Good
Disc pinch Yes Yes Yes Yes Good
Desiccation or dehydration of the disc Yes Yes Yes Yes Good
Facet arthritis Yes Yes Yes Yes Good
Vertebral fractures Not recommended No Yes Yes Variable
Sacroiliac joint dysfunction Not recommended Yes Yes Sometimes Variable


Please note that this information is given for general purposes and does not replace the advice of a healthcare professional. Each individual is unique and may require different treatment. Consult a healthcare professional for a diagnosis and treatment appropriate to your situation.


Therapy - Spinal Decompression


At TAGMED, our back experts have the experience, knowledge and technology to diagnose and treat back pain. Our team of world-renowned back pain management professionals can provide the right care and treatment for your back problem. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you manage your back pain.



Preparations for the treatment of back pain

  • Book your appointment online or contact our staff at the TAGMED clinic to book your appointment by phone.
  • Before going to the TAGMED clinic in Montreal or Terrebonne for your first treatment, there are some things you should absolutely do. First, make sure you have your medical imaging reports (X-ray, MRI, or ultrasound) available.
  • Also, make sure you are aware of the various possible risks and side effects associated with treatment at Tagmed Clinic. You should also take all necessary measures (ex. Apply ice to the inflamed area to ensure that your body is ready for further treatment.
  • Also, make sure you are aware of the various possible risks and side effects associated with treatment at Tagmed Clinic. You should also take all necessary measures (ex. Apply ice to the inflamed area to ensure that your body is ready for further treatment.
  • Finally, if you were unable to complete our form, as mentioned above, arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time to ensure you have enough time to discuss your condition, make the assessment and your treatment.

To be completed before your consultation at TAGMED clinic

Download, print and complete this questionnaire (your health history), before consulting us, in order to save time. (Click on the tablet!)


1150 Lévis Street, suite 200, Terrebonne, QC, J6W 5S6
 (450) 704-4447


1140 Beaumont Avenue, Mount Royal, QC, H3P 3E5