How many times have you dropped or delayed a plan due to back pain? Well, yes! It is that common to endure and hear about back pain almost every day from someone or the other.
We usually take it carelessly, and do nothing but cancel our plans and add more rest to our routine which is not the right course of action. We need to know better about back pain, its causes, types, treatment, and prevention so that we may get rid of this monkey and enjoy a healthy and active routine.
Different types of back pain-
1: Based on severity– Back Pain can be mild or severe. Mild pain is usually explained as little pain and discomfort but does not affect daily routine and work-life whereas severe back pain greatly affects the ability to carry on routine activities and work-life.
2: Based on the duration of pain– Acute Back pain lasts for days to weeks while chronic back pain can last from months to even years if left untreated.
3: Based on the location of the pain– One can classify back pain as upper or lower back pain.
- Upper back pain– Pain involving the upper segment of the spine including the neck region is commonly termed as upper back pain. It can be caused due to problems in the bony segments of the spine, muscle, or ligament due to many possible reasons as discussed later. Improper posture and jerky movements of the neck are very common causes of upper back pain in all age groups. Excessive usage of cell phones, TV, and laptops in improper posture is increasing the prevalence of neck pain especially in children and adolescents which is a serious issue to be considered.
- Pain in the neck with or without swelling
- Pain radiating to hands
- Pain or difficulty while moving head and neck
- Lower back pain– Pain involving the lower segment of the spine is termed as lumbar area pain or lower back pain. This pain may sometimes radiate to the hip region and travel down the legs depending upon the underlying cause. Commonly seen cases of lower back pain arise due to improper posture or lifting a weight in the wrong way. The way you sit or sleep, the type of mattress, your daily routine should be observed carefully to find the reason for your back pain.
- Pain in the lower portion of back with or without swelling
- Pain in the lower portion of the back that radiates down to buttocks and legs up to the knee or even feet
- Pain in the lower back which aggravates on bending, sitting, standing, or walking
- Numbness or tingling in legs
What causes back pain?
Our back is primarily composed of a central bony structure called vertebral column which encases the spinal cord, blood vessels and is supported by muscles, ligaments, and cartilage-like discs that cushion the vertebrae. Problems with any of these components due to any reason can lead to pain and discomfort in the back.
- Improper posture
- Calcium and Vitamin D deficiency
- Fall or injury
- Muscle strain
- Ruptured disc
- Bulging disc
- Abnormal curvature of vertebral column- Lordosis, kyphosis or scoliosis
- Problem with internal organs
- Infections like tuberculosis of the spine and other viral or bacterial infections
Risk factors leading to pain in the back–
- Old age
- Reduced physical activity
- Chronic Illness
- Family history of arthritis
- Incorrect strenuous exercise or yoga
- Autoimmune disorders like psoriasis, systemic lupus erythematosus, etc.
- Chronic stress
Back pain is seen to affect a major section of the population these days, however, few simple lifestyle changes and precautions, if followed well, can lead to a strong and healthy back that is free from pain.
- Maintain good posture- Be vigilant about how you sit, stand, and walk. Bending, correctly lifting weight is very crucial. Maintaining the right posture will keep you relaxed and pain-free even after a long day of activity.
- Exercise regularly- What is more important than regular exercise is to exercise correctly. Whether you follow an exercise or yoga routine, do it precisely and regularly to maintain the muscle tone and strength of your back. Learning the proper way from an instructor and then practicing it can help you.
- Eat healthily- Healthy diet is the key to a healthy body. A balanced diet consisting of an adequate amount of proteins, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals will help you build strong bones and muscles.
- Check your weight- Obesity is a very common cause of back pain. Reduce your weight and maintain it within a normal range.
- Quit smoking
- Don’t take stress– Tension and anxieties are lesser-known causes of back pain. If you suffer from chronic stress or anxiety, consult a therapist and learn about relaxation and mindfulness techniques. These practices will not only reduce your stress but also provide numerous other health benefits including a decrease in your pain.
- Sleepwell – A good night’s sleep will play an important role to give you physical as well as mental relaxation. The duration and posture while you are sleeping, and the type of mattress used, dictate the level of comfort and freshness you experience on waking up.
How to prevent back pain?
Due to the high occurrence rate, back pain is considered a common problem and most of the time treated at home with rest and analgesic ointments and gels. People also take painkillers to relieve their back pain. Pain due to exertion or mild injury usually disappears with these home remedies and rest. However, if you do not get relief in a day or two, or if your pain is severe, consult a doctor immediately so that the cause and exact treatment can be prescribed. You may be advised for some blood tests and imaging tests like X-Ray, CT scan, MRI, Bone Scan, Biopsy as per your condition to understand the underlying reason for your ailment.
Read more about: Lifestyle Changes To Relieve Back Pain
Treatment for back pain-
Treatment options depend entirely on the cause of your back pain. They include-
- Application of pain relief gels
- Pain relief medications
- Calcium and Vitamin D supplements
- Cervical collars, abdominal belts, and specific type of footwear may be advised by your doctor if needed
- Heat or cold applications
- Surgical Interventions may be needed in some cases where there is a nerve compression that cannot be corrected by physiotherapy, disc-related, or other severe problems.
- Acupressure and acupuncture can also help in some types of pain
- Treatment based on the underlying cause e.g. Cancer, infection, fracture, etc.
- Relaxation therapy.
Do not ignore your back pain and continue to suffer because being in a state of continuous pain, even if low grade, not only affects your daily activities but also influences your mental health negatively. Consult a doctor and get rid of your pain so that you may enjoy a better quality of life.
Read more about: 4 Best Home Remedies for Back Pain