Back pain can be categorized as pain felt on the back region of the body due to various reasons. It can be a sudden sharp pain or a mild continuous ache. Back pain can be devastating and can impair movement therefore, one should seek medical attention. People of all ages can experience a case of back pain as it is a common medical condition. In most cases, back pain should go away within two to three days by the use of over-the-counter pain relieving medicines; however, if your back pain is persistent, then seeing medical attention is advisable.
Types of back pain
There are various types of back pain including, lower back pain also known as lumbago, upper back pain, and pain along the spine region from the neck down to the hips. Back pain can also be distinguished between acute pain and chronic pain. Acute pain is the most common type of pain and may be caused either by falling, lifting heavy things or being tackled, and normally lasts less than six months. Chronic pain, which is less common can last up to three months and requires medical attention.
Causes of back pain
There are various reasons why one can experience back pain. These include injuries from accidents and sprains or fractures such as ruptured discs, tense muscles, and slipped discs. Whiplash, which is a neck injury caused by a sudden impact or frozen shoulder, which is inflammation of the shoulder, can result in back pain.
Back pain can also be caused by several diseases such as:
- Kidney stones
Diagnosis of back pain
If your back pain has become persistent and is interfering with your day-to-day life, then it might be time to seek medical advice. Reasons for some cases of back pain are not easily determined, however, some tests like X-ray, blood tests, CT scan and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) might be essential according to what your physician advises.
When should one see a doctor?
There are various reasons why you should seek medical attention urgently when you experience back pain, for instance;
- If you have a fever
- If you’re experiencing chest pains
- If the back pain started as a result of an accident
- If you’re unable to pass urine
- If your weight loss is unexplainable
- If you’re numb around your buttocks and genitals.
Treatment of back pain is usually dependent on the kind of pain you feel. More often than not, acute back pain gets better with pain relieving medicines such as ibuprofen or aspirin, or without any treatment, at all. However, since chronic back pain is sharp and long lasting, treatment may be needed and it includes different options.
Most people with chronic back pain require surgery especially if they have:
- Herniated disk— this happens when the disks that cushion the spine get damaged and the jelly fluid at the center of disk leaks causing pain.
- Degenerative disk disease in which as one ages, their disks break down and cause severe pain.
- Vertebral fractures, which are normally caused by a blow to the spine.
Pain numbing shots or steroids can be prescribed by your physician to lessen the pain.
Changing your posture, how you sleep, and your diet to a more healthier one can prevent back pain and other related diseases. If you are a smoker, you should quit smoking as you’re prone to back pain since the disks in your back do not get proper nutrients and smokers generally are slow to heal.
Hot and cold packs
Hot or cold packs serve as temporary soothing solutions for back pain. Cold numbs the pain while reducing swelling whereas heat reduces the pain by reducing muscle spasms.
Use of medicine
Medication can also be used in the treatment of back pain. The main types of medication include:
- Some antidepressants and muscle relaxers
- Anti inflammatory drugs that are nonsteroidal and reduce both pain and swelling, such as ketoprofen or ibuprofen
- Creams and ointments that are rubbed on the affected region.
Working out as per directions from your physician to help strengthen your muscles and improve your posture can help reduce back pain.
To treat back pain, a patient may need chiropractic treatment, osteopathy, and physiotherapy. A patient may also need counseling such as cognitive behavioral therapy.
Regular exercise including yoga can help in straightening your back and strengthening your muscles in your back thereby preventing back pain. You may want to consult your physician about your body posture, get tips on how to sit and stand up straight, and how to do heavy lifting if you must.
Your back’s health is determined by a couple of things including how you stand, lie, lift things, or your sitting posture. There’s nothing as uncomfortable as back pain, as it may hinder you from doing your regular daily routine thus the need to be cautious about your wellbeing. Keeping fit applies in so many aspects of life, as poor physical fitness enhances the risk of getting back pains and other related diseases.