Back Pain – Understanding and treatment

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Back Pain – Understanding and treatment

Back Pain – Understanding and treatment

1. Introduction

Back pain is a common health issue today that affects at least eight out of ten people. It is a prevalent problem among all age groups. A major percent of people experience a back problem during some time in their lives and many times back pain will resolve itself in two to four weeks with rest, ice and heat. Normally, the pain is mechanical in nature and NOT caused by a serious medical condition, such as inflammatory arthritis or fracture. Chronic back pain has become a debilitating problem and the treatment for it has become expensive. Preventing or treating back pain is possible without the intervention of medications. Untreated back pain can cause discomfort can impede the rehabilitation process by interfering with exercise and increasing the risk of psychological distress. We have tried an augmented explication on pain management and some approaches to treat back pain.

1.1 Symptoms

Back pain symptoms may include feelings of muscle ache, stabbing or shooting pain, stiff or limited flexibility in the back or lower back, inability to stand with proper posture and radiating pain down one or both legs.

1.2 Common Causes

1.2.1 Usage

The muscles that support the spine are in constant use; even while simply sitting, the muscles are in use to keep one from falling over. The spine also bends, straightens and twists. This constant stress on the back can result in back strain and pain. At times, even simple movements like bending or stretching can trigger pain.

1.2.2 Rupture

Spinal discs are soft cushions between vertebra. Sometimes, the soft jellylike substance inside the disc can bulge out of place or rupture, putting pressure on the surrounding nerves causing back pain.

1.2.3 Accidents and injury

Accidents and injuries are the major reasons for back pain. Disc related pain can also be caused by an injury. Though most back pain is caused by muscle or ligament strain, there are other causes such as damage or injury to spinal nerves, bones, or discs.

1.2.4 Sedentary Lifestyle

Sedentary lifestyle and long hours of sitting can put cause severe back pain. A majority of back, neck, and other muscle pains are related to imbalanced distribution of force throughout your body, which is created by working or staying in unnatural positions for extended time.

1.2.5 Pressure

The lower back supports most of the weight of the body and is subject to the most mechanical stress. As a result, the lower back is commonly injured. Lower back pain caused by strained muscles or ligaments is the most common type of back pain.

1.2.6 Arthritis

Osteoarthritis of the spine is a common cause of back pain in people over 65 years of age. Back pain is sometimes caused by a problem with the kidneys.

1.2.7 Undisclosed

In many cases the cause of back pain is hard to pin down. A simple muscle strain often causes more pain that a herniated disc. Herniated discs can produce intense back pain but often do not produce any symptoms at all. Even in those with damaged discs and spinal joints, the source of the back pain may be strained back muscles.

2. Cutting risk

Stretching before any strenuous physical activity is a great way to get flexibility back into your system. Avoid slouching when standing or sitting. If you spend most of your time sitting, pay attention to consciously sucking in your belly and rotating your pelvis slightly up.

2.1 Self checks

• Sitting with good lumbar support.
• Switching sitting positions often.
• Wearing comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
• Sleeping on a firm surface on sides to reduce any curve in spine.
• Maintaining optimal weight.
• Getting enough vitamin D.
• Drinking plenty of water enhances the height of inter-vertebral disks.

2.2 Exercises

Exercise and being physically active help strengthen the muscles of spine, radically reducing back pain.

2.3 Yoga

Yoga may be an effective strategy for alleviating back pain by making people more aware of how they move their bodies.

2.4 Massage

Getting a massage is another simple strategy to ease back pain. Massage offers real health benefits that are being recognized even by conventional hospitals, making it a standard therapy for surgery patients. Massage releases endorphins that help induce relaxation, relieve pain, and reduce stress.

2.5 Diagnosis and Tests Medical checks

Blood and urine tests may be done to be sure the pain is not caused by an infection or other systemic problem. X-rays are useful in pinpointing broken bones or other skeletal defects. To analyze soft-tissue damage such as disk herniation, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans may be needed. To determine possible nerve or muscle damage, an electromyogram (EMG) can be useful.

2.6 Physical therapy

Physical therapy includes treatments, such as heat, ultrasound, electrical stimulation and muscle-release techniques, to your back muscles and soft tissues to reduce pain. Once pain starts to reduce, one can start exercises that can increase flexibility, strengthen your back and abdominal muscles, and improve your posture. Regular use of these techniques can help prevent pain from returning.

3. Diagnostic imaging

3.1 X-ray

An X-ray shows the alignment of the bones in your spine and whether you have any broken or arthritic bones that may be causing pain.
3.2 Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) scans
These tests show images of bone, muscle, tissue, nerves, blood vessels, tendons and ligaments. These tests can show disc herniation, muscle tears, ligament problems and can help your doctor understand your back pain.

3.3 Nerve Studies

Electromyography (EMG) is a test used to study nerve and muscle function. There are two parts to EMG testing: a nerve conduction study and a needle exam for muscle testing. The nerve conduction study involves stimulating the nerves at different points with small electric stimulation so their function can be measured. The needle exam involves inserting very fine needles into several muscles. These needles pick up both normal and abnormal electrical signals given off by a muscle.

The EMG can provide information about the extent of nerve and/or muscle injury and can give some indication as to whether the damage is reversible. An EMG may be performed when the patient has unexplained muscle weakness to distinguish if the problem is in the muscle or if it due to nerve disorders. The EMG can detect abnormal electrical activity of muscles and nerves that can occur in many diseases and conditions, including muscular dystrophy, muscle inflammation, pinched nerves, damage to nerves in the arms and legs (peripheral nerve damage), multiple sclerosis and carpal tunnel syndrome.

4. Conclusion

Back pain can be light or severe, however it bothers the person and becomes a causing concern. Pain can affect you physically and disturb you mentally. It is dangerous to ignore the pain and carry on with routine activity. By correcting our posture or checking with a professional, one can enjoy effective, lifelong freedom from pain.

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