Back pain is increasingly becoming a common problem, and at some point in life, we all will experience this ailment in some form or other.
It is also one of the most common reasons people miss their work or the day to day activities.
The pain can be described as dull, stabbing, sharp, throbbing, aching and searing. It may be constant or may worsen with exercise and continued sitting.
However, in most circumstances, back pain is not life-threatening and can be treated with real-life treatment solutions.
Luckily, you can take actions to prevent or relieve most back pain experiences. If prevention fails, basic home treatments and proper body mechanics can heal your back within a few weeks and keep it functional. Surgery is hardly required to treat back pain.
Back pain can range from-
1. Muscle aching, shooting, burning or stabbing sensation.
2. Moreover, the pain may radiate down your leg or worsen with bending, twisting, lifting, standing or walking.
Back pain mostly is a combination of the following:
1. Bad posture
2. Muscle strains or sprains.
3. Not exercising that results in stiffening of the spine and weak muscles
There are other conditions that are linked with back pain. Some of them are mentioned below.
Due to ageing, the discs in the spine turn thinner and the spaces between the vertebrae get narrower. Little pieces of bone, known as osteophytes, get form at the edges of the vertebrae and facet joints.
This condition is known as spondylosis and is quite similar to the changes caused by osteoarthritis in other joints.
It refers to a feeling of nerve pain that goes down the leg. Irritation of the lumbar nerve roots results in sciatica.
It can be caused due to bone spur, ruptured disc, or an injury to the pelvis, buttock, or thigh. Pregnancy, Diabetes, and continued sitting are also risk factors.
It refers to a condition in which the spine curves or twists like the letter “S” or “C.” It generally develops in childhood. It is linked to conditions such as muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy.
It can also be caused due to birth defects or family genetics.
Other rarer causes include:
1. An infection
2. A tumour
3. Bone problems like fracture, often related to thinning of the bones
4. Inflammation, like in the condition of ankylosing spondylitis.
When to see a doctor
Most back pain slowly improves with self-care and home remedies within a few weeks. You must consult your doctor if your pain:
1. Causes new bowel or bladder concerns
2. Is complemented by a fever
3. Goes down one or both legs, particularly if the pain spreads below the knee
4. Results in weakness, tingling or numbness in one or both legs
5. Continues past a few weeks
6. Is serious and doesn’t improve with the rest
7Is complemented by baffling weight loss
Effective Ways to Prevent Back Pain
Pain prevention isn’t all that tough, generally requiring a few simple and self-help strategies that can be amazingly effective at preventing back pain.
Here are some of the effective back pain prevention tips that you must follow.
1. Exercise daily:
If your back is suffering from pain, you might wonder if the most effective way to experience relief is to restrain from exercise and just rest.
While a day or two of rest might help, but more than that may not be quite helpful.
Consult your doctor or a health club trainer about back-strengthening exercises. You can also practise some forms of yoga that may help you learn proper posture and increase strength and flexibility.
2. Consume a nutritious diet:
A healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, dairy products, and whole grains can keep your overall health on track.
This will not only help you maintain a healthy weight but will avoid any unnecessary stress on your back.
3. Maintain proper posture:
You must work at an ergonomically correct workstation, both at the office and at home. Moreover, you must break up long periods in front of the computer with stretching exercises.
If you practice proper posture, you can maintain the natural curves of your back and help to strengthen it more.
4. Sleep sideways:
You must avoid sleeping flat on your back. The best position for sleeping is on your side.
If you sleep on your stomach, then put a pillow under your lower abdomen to reduce the stress off your back. Having a supportive pillow and mattress for your head is important too.
At last, getting enough and restful sleep is a crucial part of maintaining good health.
5. Lift objects carefully:
Careful at what you lift. Don’t bend over from the waist to lift heavy objects. Always bend your knees and squat, pulling in your stomach muscles and holding the object close to your body as you stand up.
Your legs must do the lifting and not your back. Avoid twisting your body while lifting. Whenever possible, always push heavy objects rather than pull.
6. Stop smoking:
Yes. Even smoking can have negative effects on your back. Smoking results in the narrowing of blood vessels. A narrowed blood vessel results in less oxygen and nutrients leading to the spine and, in turn, becoming more vulnerable to injury.
Back pain usually gets better in a month with home treatment.
However, everyone is different and back pain is a complicated situation. For many, the pain doesn’t vanish for a few months, and some even suffer from persistent, severe pain.
Here are some treatment procedures that you may be prescribed based on your condition.
If home treatments do not work, your doctor may recommend some medications.
1. Muscle relaxants:
Muscle relaxants can also be used to reduce back pain, particularly if muscle spasms happen alongside pain.
These medications reduce pain by acting on the central nervous system. They can make you feel sleepy or dizzy.
2. Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers:
These include Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve). Take them only when directed by your health care provider.
3. Topical pain relievers:
These products deliver pain-relieving substances through your skin via creams, salves, ointments or patches.
If you experience chronic back pain, then your doctor may prescribe amitriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant, duloxetine (Cymbalta) and so on. They can also work for nerve-related pain.
Drugs containing opioids, such as oxycodone or hydrocodone, may be used for a short time with close supervision by your doctor. Opioids don’t work well for chronic pain, so your prescription will usually provide less than a week’s worth of pills.
6. Alternative medicines:
Alternative therapies that can provide relief are as follows:
3. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
4. Relaxation techniques
5. Chiropractic adjustments
However, before proceeding with any complementary treatments, make sure you consult your doctor.
7. Surgical procedures:
Surgery for back pain is only recommended when there is a specific reason for your pain or conventional treatments that have not helped.
Common conditions which may require surgery are-
1. Disc prolapse
2. Lumbar/Cervical canal stenosis
3. Degenerative diseases of the spine
4. Tuberculosis and other infections of spine
6. Scoliosis and
7. Other deformities of spine.
Progressive weakness or numbness in the arms or legs, alteration of bladder or bowel function or cancer may require urgent surgery.
Back pain is a common condition and, with age, you will probably experience it. But with proper treatment, you can get relief from the pain easily.
Continue with your activities as much as you can. Try light activities, such as walking and activities of daily living. Restrain from activities that do not help with the pain.
Occasionally, you will require help from your healthcare expert in the form of prescribed medications or injections. Surgery may be an option in very rare cases.
Neotia Getwel Healthcare Centre has some of the most experienced and skilled Neruo Spine specialists who provide quality care and successful relief to people with chronic back pain. Book your appointment here.
Though all attempts are made to provide correct information on the subject, inadvertent & typographical errors arising out of manual intervention cannot be ruled out. It is requested to bring any such discrepancies to the notice of the blogger for correction.