What is Back Pain?
Back pain or backache refers to the pain felt in the spine that commonly occurs when we damage our muscles, nerves, bones, joints or other structures in the spine. People are mostly unaware of their posture and how they sit, hence back pain is one of the most common medical problems experienced by most people at some time in their life. It can be acute, usually lasting from a few days to a few weeks, or chronic, lasting for more than three months.
Symptoms of Back Pain
- A dull ache in the back.
- A shooting or piercing pain which can lead to a burning sensation.
- Difficulty in standing up straight without pain.
- In extreme cases, the pain lasts longer than a month and the discomfort can spread to the arms and the legs, in which case one must visit a back pain doctor.
Who Faces The Risk Of Back Pain?
It’s most common among people who participate in sports such as skiing, basketball, football, ice skating, soccer, running, golf or tennis are at a greater risk of developing back pain. During these activities, the spine needs to bear more stress than usual and takes up more pressure. It undergoes twisting and turning, as well as bodily impact. This may cause strain on the back that can result in back pain. Other than athletes, any age group can be susceptible to back pain if they don’t take care and exercise. Even children and teens suffer from it, however, it’s more common in older people from 30-40.
Causes of Back Pain
Musculoligamentous strain: It is the most common sports injury caused by any injury done to the soft tissues of the musculoskeletal system, such as the muscles, ligaments, joints, tendons etc. One of the most common occurrences is a strain to the upper-most section of the spine and are generally happen due to lifting, pushing or moving heavy things. The sudden jerk can cause harm to your spine which will need attention from a back pain specialist.
Spondylolysis: The simple meaning of this term is spinal degeneration. It is commonly found in athletes who participate in sports such as gymnastics, pole-vaulting, and football. There is constant activity and pressure on the spine during these activities, which can quicken degeneration. If you start experiencing numbness or weakness it’s important to visit a back pain doctor.
- Spondylolisthesis: It is a condition of the spine that involves spinal instability. It occurs when one vertebra is displaced or has slipped forward over the other below it. This may occur due to a degenerative condition and is most common among athletes and older people. It can also be genetic, however, with proper exercise, you can easily avoid this condition.
- Slipped Disc: It is when a soft cushion of tissue between the bones of the vertebrae is pushed. This can be unbearably painful as it is pressed on the nerves. This problem commonly happens with age, when the outer ring of the disc becomes weak or torn and allows the inner part to slip out. While lifting large and heavy objects, a huge strain is created on the lower spine causing the disc to slip out. This certainly requires an examination from a back pain specialist as it can be quite painful.
Diagnosis of Back Pain
A back pain doctor will diagnose the pain by reviewing your history and symptoms and examining your spine. A complete examination includes the examination of the signs of unusual curves of the spine, rib hump, tilted pelvis and tilting of the shoulders, and a test of your sensations. Other diagnostic tests may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for Neck Pain
- Anti-inflammatory medications or NSAIDs are recommended to provide relief from pain.
- Cold packs, heat packs or both, applied to your back will help ease much of the discomfort and relieve stiffness as well the pain.
- Sleeping with the pillow between the knees while lying on one side or placing the pillow under your knees when lying on your back may help relieve back pain.
- Appropriate back pain exercises are essential
These measures help to relieve your back pain; however, in certain conditions, the pain may not be resolved and may require surgical treatment. A back pain specialist will decide on the appropriate surgery based on several factors.
When To See A Doctor?
If you’ve tried the above treatments and the pain still doesn’t go away, you will need to see a back pain doctor. Other symptoms that are a cause for concern are intense pain, redness, swelling and fever.
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