Everything You Need to Know About the Back Ache

Back ache: Everything you need to know - Companion4health
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Back pain is a condition of physical discomfort occurring anywhere on the spine or back, ranging from mild to disabling.

This is the most common condition that humans experience these days. Around 80% of us suffer from back pain at some point in our life. This is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

Back ache can be acute or chronic. It can also get worse with exercise or prolonged sitting. It can be frustrating, but on a brighter side, it can be resolved with minimal care in very less time.

 

Types of backache

There are four different types of back pain:

FLEXION DOMINANT

An injury to the disc causes this type of pain. This type of pain follows a familiar pattern.

EXTENSION DOMINANT

It is a pain in the joints at the back of the spine or Z-joints. It follows an identifiable pattern.

NEUROGENIC CLAUDICATION

This is a special kind of extension dominant pain that affects older individuals. It occurs due to the compression of nerves when the patient is walking.

INFLAMMATORY BACK PAIN

It is not as common as mechanical back pain. Excessive inflammation and swelling in the spinal joints are what causes in this kind of backache.

 

Symptoms of backache

There are various symptoms of backache, including:

  • Inability to stand straight without having any pain is a prevalent symptom of back pain.
  • Muscle ache in the lower back is other common symptoms of back ache.
  • One more symptom of back pain is when pain is radiating down your leg.
  • When having back pain a person’s ability to flex the back reduces.

When you come across these symptoms in your body, you should let your doctor know about this. You should try to cure this before it gets any bigger and cause problems in your body. Back ache increases if present in your body for more than three weeks.

There are more back ache symptoms which can cause pain in other parts of the body:

  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Inflammation or swelling on the back
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Numbness around the genitals
  • Numbness around the anus
  • Numbness around the buttocks

 

Causes of backache

Back ache has causes that are not because of the underlying disease. Example, working out or lifting a lot of weights, sitting and lying down all the time, or sleeping in an uncomfortable position.

  • Muscle strain

The strain on the muscles is what usually causes a backache. Sudden awkward movements, lifting heavy objects and overactivity are a few causes on this condition.

  • Disk Injuries

A common cause of back ache is disk injuries. Disks are areas between the tissue that cushion the space between each vertebra.

Sometimes it can herniate, bulge or rupture and cause nerve compression. It can be very painful and can cause numbness and tingling.

  • Arthritis

Spinal osteoarthritis can also be a cause for back ache. Damage in the cartilage of joints in your lower back is one of the causes of arthritis. Over time it can lead to narrowing of the spinal column.

  • Osteoporosis

Thinning of bones or loss of bone density is Osteoporosis. It can cause fractures in Vertebrae and is very painful. Doctors also call this compression fractures.

There are some other rare causes of back pains like:

  • Cauda equina syndrome
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Fungal infection
  • Nonmalignant tumour
  • Kidney or bladder Infections
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Stored emotions in the back muscle
  • Metaphysical reasons

Be sure to have a checkup with your doctor if you are having regular back problems.

 

Tests to determine backache causes

To analyse your pain, the doctor can order you a number of tests. The tests your doctor may order, include:

  • MRI

MRI is Magnetic resonance imaging. In this, your doctor gets a picture of your spinal cord, the nerves, and the discs of the spine, which are the most affected parts in back ache.

This is done so that he can see if there is any serious damage or a pinched nerve.

  • X-rays

X-rays reveal the damage to bones from a trauma or a fall. It is not helpful if the pain is not from trauma.

  • CT scan

CT scans (or CAT scans). The more detailed X-rays which give a better picture. It is not a very effective test. Doctors use this test to rule out a major problem.

  • Blood and urine test

Blood and urine test is done for checking underlying conditions.

  • Electromyography (EMG)

This is done to check the nerve conditions of your spinal cord.

There are some more tests used to diagnose backache, like:

  • Myelograms
  • Discography
  • Bone scans
  • Ultrasound imaging

 

Backache treatment

Many people may not need any serious treatments for back ache. You can treat it with proper medication and physical therapy.

Doctors might suggest stronger treatment for more severe cases.

Medication

You can treat back pain by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen.

You have to be careful with your medications if you have kidney stones or ulcers.

And also keep in mind that you should never take more than the recommended dose of the medications as they have side effects if taken incorrectly.

Some more medication option includes:

Ointment

Ointments are very effective in relieving back pain. They contain ibuprofen and naproxen, which work better when it comes to back pain.

Opioids

Doctors prescribe these for severe back pain. These are strong pain medications. These have a risk of addiction, so use them with caution.

  • Muscle relaxants

These reduce pain by acting on the central nervous system. You can also use them for lower back pain.

  • Antidepressants

Sometimes your doctor may prescribe antidepressants for back pain treatments. Antidepressants may also work better for nerve-related pain.

  • Steroids

Your doctor can also recommend steroid injections for severe back pain. The pain relief from the injections can return in a few months.

  • Surgery

In back pain cases, you generally wouldn’t need surgery. You only require surgery when you have unremitting pain or nerve compression that causes muscles to become weak.

Alternative surgery to reduce back pain:

  • Acupuncture
  • Emotional release therapy
  • Massage
  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Relaxation techniques

These back pain treatment might be helpful, but before undergoing these, you need to consult your doctor.

 

Home remedies

You can do a lot of home treatments for your back pain.

Heat/Ice therapy

Ice packs or warm compresses both help in relieving pain. Consider altering between heat and cold. Do not put ice directly to your skin. Cover it with a cloth and then put it on your back.

And for heat, do not use it overnight, though it would be very tempting to sleep with a heating pad it can burn your skin.

Acupuncture

This ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture can be very helpful in relieving lower back ache.

It can look difficult at first, but this is a helpful technique. Acupuncture stimulates the pain-relieving substance into your body.

Evaluating your workspace

By making your workspace more back-friendly can relieve your pain a little and stop it from making it worse.

For doing this, you have to change a bit of your work station:

  1. Keep the things important to you, like your daily used things, stapler, pen, pencil, papers, phone, near to you. By doing this, you will not have to bend or strain your lower back. This will help you resist your urge to twist.
  2. You should have a chair in which you can rest your back easily
  3. Your computer monitor should be at your arm’s length. It should not be very high or very low, as it can affect the posture of your body.

Eating healthy

Eating healthy food solves most of your problems. It will help you maintain your weight which will protect you from putting extra strain on your back.

Having an adequate amount of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D keep your bones strong and maintain bone growth.

Sleeping positions

Sleeping in an awkward position can cause a lot of back pains. The best position for sleeping is to keep your knee up close to your chest. It reduces stress on your back. A firmer mattress is best for sleeping.

Yoga

Yoga is one of the best ways to relieve back pain. Yoga involves slow back movements and stretching that helps to strengthen your body.

Yoga strengthens your core muscle and improves the posture of your body.

You have an increased risk of back pain when:

  • You work in an inactive environment.
  • You don’t exercise enough for your body muscles to reduce stress.
  • You are above 60 in age
  • You are a smoker
  • You have obesity
  • You have arthritis

In these cases, you have a high risk of back pain. If you have a stressful job, depression and anxiety also affects your back pain.

Most people have back pain at least once in their life.

Intensity and manageability of pain can differ from person to person.

Fortunately, you can take small measures by yourself to relieve most of your back pain. Even without surgery, you can cure it by simple home treatments, and proper body mechanics can heal you just in a few weeks.

In some conditions, back pain can flare up and subside, only to flare up again in a few weeks. Also, your treatment will be more successful if you actively participate in making decisions about your medical aid.

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