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Don’t Let Back Pain Make you Back-Down

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October 4, 2016

Don’t Let Back Pain Make you Back-Down

Every individual suffers from back pain at some time or the other. It could be slight stiffness or strain in the back, or a persistent tension or ache that won’t go away. There are numerous back pain causes and bad sitting/standing posture, lifting incorrectly or bending awkwardly are the common causative factors. Generally, there is no serious implication attached to back pain and with a little bit of care, the condition can improve within a few weeks.

Types of Back Pain

Maintaining mobility and taking some over the counter pain killers can solve the problem. But there are different types of back pain and though it can occur anywhere along the length of your spine, the lower back is the portion that is most commonly affected by it. The different kinds of back pains are:

  • Neck pain
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Shoulder pain
  • Whiplash
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Sciatica
  • Slipped disc

Back Pain Causes

The human back is a very complex structure that is made up of bones, joints, muscles and nerves. Sometimes, this makes it very difficult to identify what the exact cause of the pain is. It goes without saying that when there are so many different types of back afflictions, the causes for them will be varied too. Let’s look at the most common causes of back pain:

  • Irritated or pinched nerves
  • Minor strains and sprains
  • Minor injuries
  • Lifting badly
  • Prolonged standing or sitting
  • Bending awkwardly for extended periods of time
  • Pulling or pushing heavy objects
  • Over-stretching
  • Twisting
  • Driving in a slouched position/ driving without a break for long periods of time
  • Overuse of muscles- as in repetitive movements that are required in many sports
  • There are times when you may develop a back pain for no specific reason. You might just wake up with a back pain, without a clue as to what actually caused it.

Back Pain Treatment

The back pain treatment will vary dependent on the duration, severity and some other individual factors like age, medical conditions and lifestyle. Short-term back pain can be effectively treated by:

  • Rest
  • Over the counter medications
  • Application of local muscle relaxants
  • Light massage
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) like Ibuprofen
  • A stronger pain killer & a muscle relaxant in addition to Ibuprofen
  • Alternating between hot & cold treatments
  • Altering your sleeping position and using pillows as props under your knees helps in maintaining the natural curve of your back
  • Relaxation- this reduces tension in the muscles and eases back pain
  • Maintaining mobility- Inactivity can worsen back pain. Though it is important not to stress the back with any excessive or sudden movements, try to move around as much as possible
  • Addressing lifestyle conditions like obesity, stress and poor posture

Long-Term Back Pain

If your back pain persists for over 6 weeks, it means that you are suffering from a chronic condition. The treatment for this will be more specialized and your doctor might prescribe:

  • Manual therapy such as mobilization, manipulation and massage. Typically, this is carried out by a physiotherapist/osteopath/chiropractor
  • Acupuncture
  • Traction/ Lumbar supports
  • Nerve root blocks-wherein an anaesthetic or steroid is injected into the affected segment of the back. This procedure is carried out under CT or X-Ray guidance
  • Facet joint injections might help in cases where the joints have been affected by arthritis
  • Antidepressants might sometimes be prescribed to treat persistent pain
  • Counselling helps in alleviating back pain as it helps you manage your pain in a more positive manner
  • Surgery will be recommended only when all the other measures of treatment have been ineffective. Your doctor will recommend corrective surgery only in case of persistent and severe back pain which makes it impossible for you to carry on your regular activities without hindrance.

The surgery will be based on the specific back condition and your surgeon will discuss it in detail with you and provide you with all the suitable options. The one important point to remember is that to a large extent, back pain is avoidable and controllable. One just has to be more conscious about posture, movement and lifestyle.

Have you had any episodes of back pain? What remedies have effectively worked for you? Did you know the cause of your back pain and were you able to take care of it? Please share your thoughts and experience.

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