What is Back Pain?
The term back pain refers to pain in any of numerous regions of the back, which varies in duration, severity and frequency in sufferers. The first step in solving the dilemma of improving back health is to know exactly what back pain is. Back pain, in the most general sense, is a very common complaint in people globally. It is the culprit of missed work days and unplanned trips to the doctor. Unfortunately, statistics show that most people will suffer from some sort of back in some point of their lives. Episodes of back pain can be short lived or chronic depending upon many factors like the cause and the part of the back affected.
What are the Causes of Back Pain?
Back pain can occur for many reasons. It can be the result of an injury, which caused muscle strain to an area of the back. A sudden jerky motion while lifting heavy objects or a weird twist of the back while in a strange or strained position are two examples of this type of back pain. Car accidents often lend to back pain as well. A human body is greatly affected by a sudden jolt with a force that has the magnitude of a car. It can easily cause damage to the spine and muscles of the back. Many people suffer from consequences such as whiplash, broken vertebrae or torn ligaments or muscles.
Another reason for back pain is abnormality to the disks in the spine. Disks act as pillows in between bones in the spine. When they are inflamed or out of place, it can cause severe pain. Arthritis in the lower back can sometimes lead to spinal pain as well. Issues with the skeletal system of a back can also result in pain. Scoliosis or osteoporoses are just a couple of diseases causing this type of pain. Often, determining the cause of the pain, one can begin healing it.
Types of Back Pain
The back makes up a pretty large area of the human body. Obviously, because of this, there are many parts that can be painful. Neck pain is a common type of back pain. This can occur from a strain or twisting the neck in an unusual position. Whiplash is another common back injury. It happens when there is a sudden jolt to the neck like in a car accident. The sudden movement can cause damage to tendons or ligaments, which are bone connectors. Pain in the shoulder is another common complaint to this area of the body. Shoulder pain is normally a symptom for another issue. Frozen shoulder is one of such disorders. Frozen shoulder is a condition that limits movement of the shoulder. It can be very painful and makes motion very difficult. Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that causes pain in the spine, bones and muscles. Because of the inflammation that it causes, it can be very painful to sufferers. Two other common types of pain are sciatica nad slipped disc. The spine is made up of disks and bones. The disks serve as pillows in between bones. If these disks slip out of place, every movement is excruciating. Sciatica is related to the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body. It runs from the back down the leg and to the feet. If this nerve gets pinched or irritated, it can cause sever back pain as well. Once a doctor diagnoses the type of pain in the back, he can then begin treating it properly.
How to Diagnose Back Pain
Ultimately, if back pain appears and becomes a hindrance, a person must seek medical attention. They will help with diagnosing back pain. Medical professionals also offer effective treatment options to eliminate the painful issue that so many people deal with daily. The doctor will commonly check out one’s back and see how much motion a person has. They may do this with tests on reflexes as well have a person stand, sit or walk to assess pain. If necessary, they may also perform tests such as X-Rays, CT Scans or MRIs. Once the doctor can determine cause, severity, location and type of pain, he can then begin to treat it.
Acute Back Pain and Chronic Back Pain
Understanding the difference between these two terms is useful information when dealing with back pain because they are used quite frequently. Acute back pain is pain that lasts less than six months. This is usually pain that concerns damage or injury to tissues. It is commonly sharp and intense like touching a stove or pricking a finger. Acute pain normally subsides in this relatively short period of time. On the other hand, chronic pain, by definition, lasts much longer. Chronic back pain is the type of pain that requires long term treatment in most cases. It often is caused by damage to the nervous system, which is the body’s natural signal system that something is wrong.
Back Pain Treatment
When it comes to treatment for back pain, options are vast. It can range from back pain therapy for less cumbersome problems all the way to surgery for back pain for major issues. A doctor treats back pain depending upon its type and severity. Some treatment options include chiropractic care, electrotherapy, medication therapy, nerve blocks and spinal injections. A chiropractor can make adjustments to the back that relieves pain. Medication therapy is a common treatment option. Pain can be managed by a number of different medications ranging from anti-inflammatories to narcotics. Medication injections are sometimes given directly to the back to relieve pain as well. Back pain sufferers sometimes require electrotherapy to help their pain. Electrotherapy can block pain messages sent to the brain or stimulate the spine or back. Some people have had success with acupuncture while others have had success with nerve blocks. Nerve blocks are another treatment used to interrupt the pain signals sent from nerves to the brain. Depending upon the type of back pain, a medical professional can use one or more than one of these therapies to help an individual who is suffering from back pain.
Lower Back Pain
This type of back pain is the most common. It can cause problems when a person is sitting and also occurs in pregnant women. Back pain from sitting often relates to inflammation of the lower back. Lower back pain causes include herniated disks and problems with the sciatic nerve. It can also be caused by excessive strain. Back pain while pregnancy is close to term is a common occurrence. Finding a remedy for lower back pain can improve quality of life. There are many options in lower back pain management. Lower back pain treatment varies from case to case. On a small scale, sleeping with a pillow between your knees can offer lower back pain relief. Exercise and over the counter inflammation medicines like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can also be lower back pain relievers. Some also benefit from ice or heat. Muscle relaxers and steroids can also be good treatments.
How to Prevent Back Pain
Avoiding back pain is the best option for everyone. Exercise is a great way to keep a range of motion conducive to good back health. Also, avoid straining or heavy lifting without back support. Not only does exercise prevent pain from beginning, there are also many exercises to fight back pain. Yoga for back pain is also a trendy way to relieve constant irritation from back problems. Yoga adds flexibility to the muscles and spine, which will help the back to be less apt to injure so quickly.
Back Pain Cures
Although those with long term back pain cannot expect a cure, those with less permanent problems can have better success. If a lower back pain cure cannot be found from light therapy, a more drastic approach might be necessary. With so many options available for how to relieve back pain, no one should go without treatment in this day and age. Surgery is good for those with progressive nerve problems but otherwise, much relief can be found from less drastic measures.
Only second to the common cold as far as ailments that commonly affect people, back pain will probably trouble you or someone in your family. Not only are there many causes, there are many treatments as well. Luckily, because it is a common problem in people all over the world, there has been much research and technical advances in this area. Where back pain was once a problem people thought they either had to deal with or get surgery, today there are many other avenues to be explored for relief. Exercise and other regular activity can prevent back pain because it makes the spine, muscles and ligaments more flexible and less brittle. This will help in those times when an extra strain or injury would be much graver without range of motion. Knowing the causes and treatments for this type of health hindrance will benefit back pain sufferers and offer hope for a better quality of life.