The Cause and How To Treat Back Pain
Back pain is one of our most frequent complaints. Here is a look on what causes back pain and its remedies.
“Oooh my back!” How many times have you been bogged down because of your back pain? Don’t worry as you are not the only one. Every 8 out of 10 people face minor or major back pain sometime in their lives. In fact, back pain is one of our most frequent complaints. Here is a look on what causes back pain and its remedies.
Structure of your back:
Your back is a complex structure made up of bones, muscles, nerves and joints. This can often make it difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the pain.
Back pain is soreness, tension or stiffness felt in the lower or upper back. Depending on the part of your back pain, it is mainly classified as Lower Back Pain and Upper or Middle Back Pain.
Lower Back Pain:
The pain will often only affect the lower back, but it may also be felt down the front, side, or back of your leg.
The pain can develop suddenly after:
- Lifting something heavy
- Twisting your back awkwardly
- As a result of years of poor posture
- Occasionally, it may occur for no apparent reason
The pain may be worse at night, during activity, or after sitting in the same position for a long time, such as after a long car journey. Sometimes, lying down flat may help ease the pain.
Upper or middle back pain:
Upper or middle back pain can occur anywhere from the base of your neck to the bottom of your rib cage. This area is known as the thoracic spine.
Upper and middle back pain is less common than lower back pain. This is because the bones in this area of your back are not as flexible as those in your lower back and neck.
Upper or middle back pain often causes a dull, burning, or sharp pain. Your muscles may also be tight or stiff.
Other types of back pain:
- Pain in your lower back that moves down the buttocks into one or both of your legs may be a symptom of sciatica.
- Soreness in your lower back, muscle weakness and tight muscles may be caused by a slipped disc. If you have a slipped disc, the pain usually radiates down your leg.
- Lower back pain, buttock pain, neck pain and stiffness and pain in the sacroiliac joint (the joint that connects the pelvis to the spine) are all possible symptoms of anky losing spondylitis.
- Pain in the joints (including the back) when walking and stiffness first thing in the morning are symptoms of arthritis.
- Painful stiffness of the shoulder, which makes it difficult to dress, drive or sleep, may be a sign of frozen shoulder.
- Neck pain and stiffness, headaches and lower back pain following an accident are common symptoms of whiplash.
Causes of Back Pain:
Most cases of back pain aren’t caused by serious damage or disease but by minor sprains, strains, injuries or a pinched or irritated nerve.
Back pain can be triggered by everyday activities at home or at work, or it can develop gradually, over time. Possible causes of back pain include:
- Bending awkwardly or for long periods
- Lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling heavy objects
- Slouching in chairs
- Twisting awkwardly
- Sitting or Standing in a hunched position or driving for long periods without taking a break
- Overusing the muscles – for example, during sport or repetitive movements (repetitive strain injury)
Back pain can sometimes develop suddenly for no apparent reason. For example, you may wake up one morning with back pain and have no idea what’s caused it.
There are certain other reasons that can increase the risk of developing Back Pain:
- Being Overweight
- Smoking (Tissue damage caused due to smoking might be one of the reasons for upper or middle back pain)
- Long term medication that weakens the bone
If you have regular back pain, try to remain as active as possible and continue with your daily activities. Being inactive for a long period is bad and might just increase the back pain. Moderate activity, such as walking or doing everyday tasks, will help your recovery.
Some other solutions:
- Keep moving – little and often will help
- A good posture while sitting and standing (Most times of the day)
- Applying heat or cold to the neck (Hot water bath and/or applying Ice cubes on the pain area)
- Pain killers or anti-inflammatories (over the counter)
- Back pain relief exercises and stretches
Surgery may be needed in rare cases if the back pain is persistent for a long period, mainly post 3-6 months, as it is usually the last resort for any chronic pain. The main procedures used in back pain surgery are discetomies, spinal fusions, laminectomies, removal of tumours, and vertebroplasties.
Whatever the reason, your state of mind can also play an important role in recovery. Although it can be difficult to be cheerful if you are in pain, try to remain positive and to recover as a positive frame of mind always helps getting over many bigger hurdles.
If your back pain is really starting to get you down, you may want to consider talking to a professional osteopath. Get in touch today for help with your back pain.