The back is a very important part of the body. It consists of various structures that are responsible for the stability and mobility of the body. It supports the weight of the body during activities like standing, lifting, walking, running, etc.
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Back pain is one of the most common types of pain that around 80% of the population will experience at some point in their lives. This is one of the main reasons people visit the hospital. It can impact a person’s productivity in the workplace, which can lead to underperformance, especially if it’s severe. Various factors contribute to the development of back pain, from underlying medical conditions to poor lifestyle management.
In this post, you will learn the meaning of back pain, the types, symptoms, causes, preventions, and some natural remedies for back pain. So let’s get into that.
What is Back Pain?
Back pain is an uncomfortable feeling and an emotional experience that is felt in the back. Pain is usually subjective (i.e. the level of pain is determined by the person experiencing the pain).
Back pain can be felt in the cervical region known as neck pain, it can also be felt in the thoracic region known as middle back pain. Finally, back pain can be felt in the lumbar region (the most common manifestation of back pain), known as low back pain.
Types of Back Pain
There are 3 types of back pain. They are:
Acute Back Pain
Acute back pain is an uncomfortable feeling in the back that lasts six weeks or less. Most of the time it resolves on its own, but sometimes you need a doctor’s intervention. It often resolves quickly and sufferers can easily return to their normal activities.
Subacute Back Pain
Subacute back pain is an uncomfortable feeling in the back lasting 6-12 weeks.
Chronic Back Pain
An uncomfortable feeling in the back for 12 weeks (3 months) and longer is known as chronic back pain.
Causes of Back Pain
Below are some of the causes of back pain:
Back injuries can cause pain. If trauma has occurred in the past, the structures in the back can be injured and more likely to cause pain. Examples of trauma that can cause back pain are a fall, a traffic accident, a sports injury, etc. After these incidents, you must go to the hospital for X-rays and a general physical examination to make sure your back and overall health are in good condition and body structures are preserved.
Osteoarthritis of The Spine
Osteoarthritis of the spine is the degeneration of the cartilage that covers the facet of each spinal bone. This degeneration is known as the wear and tear of these cartilages. When this happens, the bones start rubbing against each other, leading to inflammation and pain in the back. Stiffness is also seen in this condition.
Another cause of back pain is osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is when bone density decreases and they become fragile. When the bone density of the spine decreases, the bone becomes weak, brittle, and porous. This can lead to a compression fracture of the back, leading to back pain. It is common in older people because bone weakness sets in with age.
A muscle strain in the back occurs when there is an injury to the muscles or tendons in the back that causes it to become stretched, twisted, or torn. When this happens, back pain is inflicted and the affected person feels it.
The vertebrae are spinal bones that are stacked on top of each other and run from the base of the skull to the tailbone. Between each bone is the intervertebral disc. The discs are fluid-filled sacs that have a cushioning effect on the vertebrae by preventing them from rubbing against each other. When a person sits for a long time, this disc can be compressed, and when it is loaded, pain is felt.
A herniated disc can also cause back pain. The disc is easy to bend and rotate due to its cushioning effect. However, this disc may slip, crack or leak. When this happens, we can say that the disc has herniated. It is common in the lower back and causes pain in that region. In addition to back pain, a herniated disc can also cause pain in the shoulder, arm, buttocks, thigh, and calf.
Poor Lifting Technique
If you adopt poor posture while lifting, the muscles and ligaments of the back will be strained, which can lead to straining or a tear. When this happens, pain follows. Also, maintaining poor posture while lifting can also put pressure on the spine and lead to a fracture of the spinal bone, a condition known as a spinal compression fracture.
Spinal Curvature Disorders
Spinal curvature disorders can cause back pain. These disorders include scoliosis (lateral curvature of the spine), lordosis (excessive inward curvature of the spine at the lumbar region, also known as “sway back”), and kyphosis (also known as humpback is an abnormal forward curve of the back). the upper back). These disorders change the alignment of the spine and can lead to muscle pain in the back, pressure on the facet joints, and intervertebral discs, all of which cause back pain. The work can become more difficult if proper measures are not taken.
Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the vertebral spaces. When this happens, the spinal cord is compressed, which can cause pain and weakness in the back, buttocks, and lower limbs. The pain felt in the back is more common in the neck and lower back.
Pregnancy can also cause back pain. Posture changes during pregnancy and the center of gravity shifts forward as the body gains weight. Some women lean back to compensate. This puts pressure on the back muscles and can strain the muscles, leading to back pain.
Other causes of back pain are:
Symptoms of Back Pain
Below are some of the symptoms of back pain:
- Pain can come in the form of either pain, shooting, burning, or stabbing.
- Radiating pain from back to buttocks or lower limbs.
- Swelling or tenderness over the affected region.
- Stiffness leads to difficulty moving the neck or straightening and bending the back.
- Muscle tension.
- Limited range of movement.
Prevention of Back Pain
Below are some ways to prevent back pain:
Regular exercise can prevent back pain. It is very important to be physically active to avoid muscle weakness. Core muscle strengthening exercises (eg, squats, bridging exercises, push-ups, etc.) help prevent back pain. You can also do aerobic exercises like running, cycling, etc. This helps prevent spinal degeneration and increases blood flow to the back.
Maintain Normal Body Weight
As it has been previously established that being overweight and obese can cause back pain, it is important to maintain normal body weight. Normal body weight is a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9, an overweight person has a BMI between 25 and 29.9, while an obese person has a BMI between 30 and more.
Proper Lifting Technique
To avoid back pain, it is important to learn proper lifting techniques when you want to lift. When lifting, use a wide base of support and make sure your feet are not together, keep your back straight, squat, and slowly lift the load. Keeping the load close to your body, walk straight ahead, one step at a time. When you want to twist, twist your feet and slowly drop your load by crouching with your hips and knees.
Proper Sitting Posture
When sitting, it is important to maintain proper posture. Because most people who work long hours in front of the computer usually complain about back pain, which is usually due to poor posture. You must be seated with your buttocks touching the end of the chair, your back straight and your neck in a neutral alignment, and your feet touching the floor if not using a leg brace. When sitting in front of computers, make sure the monitor is at eye level (about 25 inches from your eye) to avoid neck strain. It’s also important after sitting for a while to get up and stretch before continuing to work.
Healthy eating is critical to the normal well-being of the body. Eating a healthy diet will increase your normal body weight and you can save your back from unnecessary strain. A healthy diet not only prevents back pain but also prevents many diseases associated with unhealthy diets, including cardiovascular problems. Your diet should contain more vegetables and fruits. Avoid foods that contain bad cholesterol and fats.
Natural Remedies For Back Pain
The following are natural remedies for back pain:
When back pain begins, there is a buildup of fluid in the affected area, known as swelling. This leads to an increase in pain in this area. Cryotherapy helps relieve pain by releasing endorphins in the affected area. It then causes vasoconstriction, meaning blood flow to that area is reduced, thereby reducing swelling. A reduction in blood flow also reduces the transmission of pain signals, resulting in a reduction in back pain.
Wear Comfortable Shoes
When it comes to back pain, it depends on the choice of shoes. Wearing the wrong kind of shoes that don’t support your spine, but rather put pressure on it, causes spinal misalignment, which can lead to back pain. Some of these shoes are heels, flip-flops, tight shoes, etc. Replace them with heeled shoes, ergonomic shoes, and shoes that maintain the arch of the foot.
Massage can also be used to relieve back pain. It helps in relieving tight muscles, stiff joints, muscle tightness, and soreness that can result from muscle fatigue or weakness. Target the muscles involved and gently massage the back.
Changing your sleeping position in the right way is important to reducing back pain. If you choose to sleep on your side, it’s important to maintain a fetal position; Another pose you can maintain sideways is to place a pillow between your knees. If you choose to sleep on your back, it is important to elevate your torso and head to ensure you are in a reclined position; Another pose you can do on your back is to place a pillow under your knees. If you choose to sleep on your stomach (face down), you should place a pillow in the lower abdomen area so that the pillow touches your pelvic area. Maintaining these positions will help correct back misalignment and reduce back pain.
Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt bathing is one of the ways back pain can be relieved. It relieves back pain by helping to relax tight muscles caused by sprains. It also helps reduce swelling caused by inflammation in all areas of the back, resulting in a reduction in back pain. Epsom salt baths are most effective when the water is warm.
Stretching your back is one of the best ways to relieve back pain. Stretching the muscles and ligaments of the back helps release built-up tension that is present in the muscles and relax them. Stretching your back also eliminates stiffness and provides an increase in your spinal movements. Some examples of stretches are cobra pose, bridge, passive backbend, etc.
The above measures are to help in relieving back pain. However, if the natural remedies for back pain don’t relieve or eliminate the symptoms, you feel, you must consult your doctor for proper treatment. The extreme causes of back pain, such as infection and cancer, must be closely monitored by hospital management.