In this Health Article:
- What Causes Back Pain?
- What Are the Types of Back Pain?
- What Are the Symptoms of Back Pain?
- What Are the Diagnosis & Tests for Back Pain?
- What Are the Treatments Available for Back Pain?
- How Do You Cope Up with Back Pain?
- What Are the Ways to Prevent Back Pain?
- Medications for Back Pain available at InternationalDrugMart.com
- Self Care – The Bottom Line to Lower Your Back Pain
IntroductionLumbago, Backache, lumber pain, lower (low) back pain, pain, backache are all terms that mean back pain. Most of us experience back pain at some point of time in life. The pain or discomfort would be felt in the upper, middle or lower back. For some, back pain is a daily perennial frustrating experience. For others, back pain or backache can be totally unpredictable. Sometimes, it is a sudden attack or the back pain can develop gradually. The pain can exist in any one region of the back or in multiple areas at the same time. The pain pattern may also vary. The movement of a particular section of the body may become arrested.
What Causes Back Pain?There are many causes for back pain. It can develop in association with a number of causes too. Understanding the underlying cause for back pain is very important. This decides the future course of treatment method to be adopted and can contribute to faster recovery.
Due to muscular strains: It occurs when an unexpected force, twist or pull is applied to one or several of the muscles in the back. It leads to tears in the muscle and it is these tears that cause pain in the back.
Due to Ligamentous sprains: It occurs when the ligaments of the back are unduly stretched. Ligamentous sprains occur together with muscular strains.
Due to herniated discs: Back pain due to herniated discus is the result of repetitive vibratory motion or due to a sudden heavy loading of the back. Truck drivers and machine users are most prone to back pain due to repetitive vibratory motion. People who lift improper weight or loads can be subject to back due to heavy loading of the back. As a result, the person experiences pain at the site of injury and also along the course of the affected nerve, referred to as sciatica.
Due to Spinal stenosis or narrowing of the spinal cord: The spinal cord can narrow due to thickened ligaments that are present along the spinal canal, bony spurs, and enlarged cartilage from arthritic changes. It leads to excruciating back pain, which worsens, with activities like weight bearing or walking.
Due to Osteoporosis or progressive loss of bone density: Persons affected with osteoporosis are more susceptible to fractures or broken bones. In most of the cases, the bones of the spines get affected and result in back pain.
Due to Fibromyalgia: For those affected with fribromyalgia, even a slight pressure can cause pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons. These people experience pain in many areas of the body amongst which back pain is most prominent.
Other factors: such as stress, depression, repressed anger can contribute to developing back pain.
Other reasons include: problems with the hip, bleeding into the pelvis, infection of the spine or pelvis, pregnancy, metastatic cancer, dissection of the aorta or aortic dissection, and virus infections.
What Are the Types of Back Pain?Back pain is often categorized in a number of different ways. It can be categorized based on the location of pain, origin of pain, duration of pain and conditions related to back pain.
Acute back pain: Back pain is categorized as acute only if the pain lasts no longer than 6 weeks. The pain ideally would last for a short while maybe a few days to few weeks and the afflicted individual may experience the pain suddenly.
Chronic back pain: The afflicted individual may experience the pain either quickly or slowly and the pain would recur. Back pain is categorized chronic only if the pain lasts for more than 3 months.
Specific back pain: If the back pain is attributed to conditions such as cervical spondylosis, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, cervical kyphosis, scoliosis, kyphosis or whiplash injury, the back pain is categorized as specific back pain.
Non-specific back pain: Also referred to as mechanical pain, the source of pain can be the spinal joints, the vertebrae, and the soft tissues surrounding the spinal column.
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What Are the Symptoms of Back Pain?The cause for back pain may be different. But the symptoms are almost the same irrespective of the cause.
- Continuous aching or stiffness anywhere along the spine, from the base of the neck to the hips. Makes it difficult to bend forward or lean backward.
- Piercing localized pain in the neck, upper back, or lower back that sometimes radiates into the buttocks, back of thigh or to the groin, usually after lifting heavy objects or subsequent to engaging in strenuous activity.
- Severe ache in the middle or lower back, especially after sitting or standing for an extended period.
- With severe pain and spasm, the back may tilt to one side thus bringing a change in posture.
- Back pain accompanied by a tingling sensation or numbness in the back or buttocks or leg.
What Are the Diagnosis & Tests for Back Pain?You have finally decided to seek medical help to find relief from the discomfort and pain associated with back pain. A general practitioner can help you. Sometimes they may refer to doctor who is specialist in back and neck pain treatment. The process of diagnosis would begin with the doctor asking you certain questions to understand how and when the back pain started. Your health history and a physical examination would be part of the early diagnosis.
Most symptoms of back pain resolve within four to six weeks with oral medications, rest and specific exercises. Doctors do not usually recommend tests unless the pain persists for more than four to six weeks. The circumstances where diagnosis tests are recommended are as follows:
- Back pain after a sudden fall to rule out fracture.
- Back pain at night to rule out tumor
- Back pain accompanied by fever and sweats at night.
- If diagnosed if cancer of the breast, lungs, kidneys, prostrates and thyroids has spread to the back.
- Back pain with incontinence.
- Children who have back pain.
What Are the Treatments Available for Back Pain?Post diagnosis your doctor will be able to ascertain the underlying cause of back pain. Only in very severe cases, back pain is treated with surgery. Otherwise, below mentioned non-surgical treatments can help manage back pain. Most of the time, a combination of medications, exercises and mild lifestyle changes can pave the path to quick recovery.
Be normal: Take rest in a comfortable position. But do not remain idle for long as it can make back pain worse. Muscles are likely to weaken with too much of rest. Infact, some movement would help your muscles stay strong. If you are aware of what triggered the back pain, take care not to overstress or indulge in those activities. Take intermittent rest after an active period.
Try Hot & Cold therapy: A hot bath or a cold compress can bring great relief from back pain. Cold therapy can slow down inflammation, swelling and numb tissues while a hot bath or applying heating pad on the affected area can help relieve muscle spasms and pain.
Do some exercises: There are certain exercises, which you can do to help ease the situation. Consider joining aerobics. Lows-stress aerobic exercise has proved to be an effective form of treatment for back pain. Also, consult your physician who can guide you.
Take Medications: Your doctor may prescribe injections, muscle relaxant medications, creams and ointments. If need be, anti depressants will be prescribed. Besides, over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen and naproxen sodium can help in the process of getting relief from back pain.
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How Do You Cope Up with Back Pain?You are not alone. In the US 8 out of 10 people experience back pain at some point of time in their lives. Here are coping tips to help you reduce pain, improve function and soon you will be on the path of recovery.
- Track factors that led to back pain reduce or avoid all together.
- Read health magazines to understand your condition better.
- Join back pain management exercise classes.
- Learn suitable back exercises. Do them regularly.
- Do not overstress, physically and mentally.
- Include average amount of fish oil. Helps reduce inflammation.
- Take medications and injections as per schedule.
- Try massages in consultation with doctor.
- Pregnant women should avoid high-heeled shoes.
- Pregnant women can use pillows or lumbar cushions.
- Never lift weight during the entire pregnancy period.
- Pregnant women need to maintain a comfortable sitting/standing posture.
- Find ways to sleep well as disturbed sleep can worsen back pain.
- Avoid traveling long distance while recuperating.
- Under unavoidable circumstances, use seat cushions on both sides.
- Avoid tight fitting clothes. Prefer light, comfortable clothes.
- Select between heat pads and ice packs or use them alternatively.
- Do not indulge in activities not recommended for those with back pain.
- Drink plenty of water and eat a nutritious food.
- Consider adding vitamin supplements.
What Are the Ways to Prevent Back Pain?Back pain can be prevented in many ways. Standing, sitting, sleeping in incorrect postures can contribute to back pain development. Here are few tips to prevent back pain.
- Do not slouch while standing or sitting.
- Maintain a straight standing or sitting posture.
- Keep your back straight always.
- At work place, provide for enough leg space.
- Sit upright at workplace and work comfortably.
- Do not sit or stand at a stretch. Move around.
- Prefer cushioned soles and heels to high heels.
- Learn proper weight lifting techniques.
- Bend in the correct manner. Keeps your back upright.
- Keep fit. Exercise regularly.
- If obese, find ways to maintain ideal weight.
- Explore relaxation techniques like massage or a hot water bath.
- While driving, wear seatbelt.
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Self Care – The Bottom Line to Lower Your Back PainHere are few simple, effective back pain self-care tips that we can follow in our daily routine.
- Avoid standing or bending for a long time.
- While lifting heavy objects remember to bend knees.
- While carrying heavy objects, hold objects close to your torso.
- Warm up before exercising.
- Take physiotherapist advice while playing sports.
- Take precautions while entering or exiting from cars.
- Do not sit in the same position for a long time. Take mini-breaks.
- Opt for exercises to control back pain.
- Manage stress effectively.
- Let not stress or anxiety lead to back pain.
- While at work, provide for ample leg space.
- Do not lean forward or slouch.
- Ask for back cushions if required.
- Maintain an ideal weight.
- Include average amount of fish oil.
- Sleep in a comfortable bed/position.
- Avoid excessive smoking.