Back pain is a medical condition that many of you may have come across at some time. It is a common health problem that interferes with personal and professional life. Though the condition is usual in older people, these days, the sedentary life of young people is also much of a concern. Nerve and muscular disorders, degenerative disease, and arthritis may also result in back pain. Pain manifests as sharp, throbbing, stabbing, or searing. It varies according to the cause of back pain.
Possible Causes of Back Pain
There are multiple causes of back pain. Mostly back pain results from a sedentary lifestyle, strains and sprains which are temporary and treatable. However, there are other causes too. Let us evaluate a few of them.
Fractures in the spine’s bones from an accident, sports injury may result in back pain.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to cause lower back pain. The inflammation of joints and bones leads to stiffening of bones with impaired movement. It may be due to old age and infection.
Back strains and sprains from muscle, tendon or ligament injury result in back pain. In addition, some may strain their back by sneezing, coughing and suddenly changing position.
3. Disc Disorders
There are vertebral discs between your vertebrae in the spine. Vertebrae are small spinal bones that may displace, protrude, and compress any nerve. Displacement may be due to physical injury, overweight or obesity. They may also cause nerve injury. In degenerative diseases, the discs get flat. All these disorders manifest as back pain.
Diseases like kidney stones, spine tumours, infections and malignancies are also causes of back pain. Scoliosis is a degenerative disorder where your spine curves in an odd way. It results in back pain. In addition, scoliosis may lead to pain, stiffness and impaired movements.
Spinal stenosis is another condition that occurs when the spinal column is narrowed. As a result, you may experience pinching nerve pain along your lower back.
It affects any bones. You may experience back pain when the bones of your spine turn brittle and porous. It makes your bone prone to fractures more likely.
Back pain does not confine to age. However, you are likely to develop back pain due to the degenerative disease as you get older.
6. Cauda Equina Syndrome
The cauda equina is a plexus or bundle of spinal nerve roots. To simplify, it originates from the lower tip of your spinal cord. Any injury or abnormality may compress these nerve segments resulting in the disorder. It is this nerve root that regulates the bladder and bowel movements. Symptoms include stabbing pain in the lower back and buttocks along the waist. Additionally, numbness in the buttocks, genitalia, and thighs are associated symptoms. In addition, there may be bowel and bladder dysfunction.
7. Sleep Disorders
Individuals with sleep disorders are more likely to experience back pain, comparatively. For example, a mattress that does not support your body posture to keep the spine straight affects the backbone. It consequently results in back pain.
Abnormal Seating Position Adopting an uneasy hunched sitting position when using computers may give strain to your back. In addition, it results in increased back and shoulder problems over time. Back pain can also result from some everyday activities or poor posture.
- Overstretching due to rigorous workouts
- Straining the neck while working
- Using a computer and sitting in a specific posture for long periods
- Long continuous driving sessions
The causes of back pain differ invariably; however, the symptoms remain more or less the same. It may be muscle pain from burning or stabbing to persistent throbbing radiating pain. Nature of back pain includes.
- Persistent pain or rigidity along your spine, from the lower neck to the tailbone
- A localised pain in the neck or around the back after strenuous activity, workouts or lifting anything heavy
- Intense pain on maintaining position for a long time
- Pain that radiates from the lower back downwards to the back of the calf and toes
- Inability to stand straight or maintain position with ease.
Fortunately, there are many home remedies to help relieve back pain. But remember, it is not a considerable treatment choice. If the pain persists, you need to seek medical attention for a proper diagnosis.
1. Hot or Cold Fermentation
According to a study, heat and cold fermentation may be adequate to soothe back pain. Ice packs may help if used immediately after a sprain. It helps reduce inflammation. A heating pad may also relieve stiff or painful muscles. You may also use a hot water bottle or heat a cloth bag of uncooked rice in the microwave instead of a heating pad.
2. Stretching Movements
Relax for a while from your posture, especially after long periods at work. It may relieve your strain on the muscle and relax your mind. These are simple stretching movements.
Bending forward to reach your toes may help soothe your lower back muscles.
You have to sit on your heels with your knees apart to perform this pose. Then, lean slightly forward to rest your head on the floor. Finally, stretch your arms in front of your head. You will experience a calming stretch and an overall resting feeling.
3. Topical Applicant
Pain-relief creams and ointment may give you timely relief. Creams with menthol may help to desensitise pain receptors. It may soothe your dull back pain. Arnica is a topical applicant in homoeopathy, which helps cure muscular pain and swelling.
4. Switch Footwear
Inappropriate footwear may lead to recurrent back pain, resulting in muscular strain for both legs and back. Usually, a podiatrist or foot specialist may guide you better, but you should wear one which fits and supports your feet correctly. For example, high heels may interrupt your feet alignment, while abnormally flat heels also add strain. Both may trigger lower back pain.
5. Workstation Posture
Improper posture for an extended period at work front may be a factor for back pain, especially when you strain before the computer desk. Using ergonomics to alter your workstation may help get rid of the pain. Ensure your computer screen is at eye level with appropriate positioning of the chair height. If you need to lift something heavy to lift, you may squat and use their legs for support. It is best to use trolleys for moving heavy objects.
6. Uninterrupted Deep Sleep
Most adults should be getting 7–9 hours of sleep a night. However, research shows that sleep disturbances affect your body in multiple ways. For example, inadequate sleep may trigger back pain.
Imbalance with sleep posture also initiates and worsens back pain. An uncomfortable mattress and pillows also may worsen your health. Comfort and alignment of your back are essential for a night of quality sleep. It avoids back pain. Moreover, enough rest may stabilise and improve your overall health.
7. Destress Yourself
Stress may trigger painful muscular spasms even in the back, which causes constriction in blood vessels. It may inhibit blood circulation to the tissues which includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves also. It results in oxygen deficiency along with the build-up of toxins in muscles. Finally ends up with a muscle spasm.
Meditation Techniques reduce stress to prevent and reduce back pain. Taking a deep breath or breathing exercise may calm you from stress. Stretching exercise or a stroll around in nature relaxes both your mind and body.
Yoga is a practical stress management approach. Yoga focuses on specific poses and breathing techniques. It is undeniable that yoga helps with relaxation, especially when practised regularly.
When to Seek Medical Help?
People may often resort to home remedies to cure. However, persisting signs should not be ignored. It may be the symptoms of certain underlying disorders which need medical attention. Based on physical examination and your symptoms, your doctor may diagnose the root cause of the pain. Here are a few investigations to rule out and diagnose the exact cause of your pain.
Routine Blood and Urine Tests:
Specific bone degenerative disorder markers detection can happen through these tests. For example, urine tests may help to rule out kidney stones.
Other Ways to Diagnose
- Spine X-ray to evaluate images of bones.
- MRI refines the pictures of your bones along with the muscles, tendons and other soft tissues.
- CT scan implements both X-rays and a computer. It gives a high definition 3Dimensional images of bones and soft tissues.
- Electromyography (EMG) evaluates the nerves and muscles to rule out any nerve damage.
Treatments for Back Pain
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, your doctor may choose the following treatment modality. It depends on the cause and intensity of pain.
Medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or muscle relaxants help relieve pain.
2. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy (PT) to strengthen muscles. In addition, it may support and flex your spine.
3. Non-surgical Alternative Therapy
Non-surgical alternative therapy includes chiropractic alignments, massage therapy. It helps to relax muscles, reduce pain and enhance posture and alignment.
4. Steroid Injections
Steroid injections help to relieve your pain and inflammation with immediate results. However, the administration should happen in only intense conditions. A doctor should recommend such treatments.
One may require surgical intervention to cure back pain when non-surgical medications do not respond. At times, back pain may be a symptom of some underlying disorder. Surgery may be minimally invasive or open surgery, depending on the vastness of the disease. Minimally invasive are those which require a minor incision for the surgery. The wound may be minimal. It is more likely a daycare procedure. You may return home within a few hours of surgery.
You may not prevent the back pain that results from diseases or acquired injury. It may be accidents, physical damage and furthermore. However, you may avoid injuries that cause back pain. You may also prevent back pain by modifying your style to a large extent. Here are a few suggestions for the same.
1. Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
Excess weight puts stress on vertebrae and discs. It results in dislocation, disc injury leading to back pain.
2. Healthy Diet
Go for a well balanced nutritious diet. Calcium deficiency is a major cause of bone disorders. Calcium is an essential mineral for bone growth and strength. Deficiency may cause your bone to fracture frequently. Other minerals and vitamins, too, may prevent deficiency disorders that affect bone.
Strengthen your abdominal muscles to support the spine with regular exercise. In addition, it strengthens your core muscles to support the backbone.
3. Maintain Healthy Postures
Good posture may limit the stress on your backbone. Restrict movements that strain your back. Choose a seating position with back support and a swivel base. The knees and hips should be at the same level. Change your position often. Avoid heavy lifting of weights and activities beyond your capability.
4. Quit Smoking
Smoking prompts coughing. Frequent coughing may trigger herniated discs. Additionally, smoking inhibits blood flow. It, in turn, reduces the availability of calcium and vital minerals to the cells. As a result, it enhances the risk of osteoporosis.
Exercises for Back Pain
Routine exercises to strengthen the lower back may help alleviate and prevent lower back pain. It can also enhance the core, leg, and arm muscles. According to studies, exercise improves blood circulation to your body. In addition, it may reduce muscle stiffness and prevent bone pain.
Below are exercises that may strengthen your back. In addition, it helps manage your back pain:
Bridges act on your gluteus maximus muscle. It is one of the most vital muscles in your body. It is also the most significant muscle of your buttocks. This muscle is involved with all your lower body movements. Bridges may help to keep it strong and can support the lower back.
- Lie on the ground and bend the knees, placing the feet flat on the floor hip-width apart.
- Press your feet into the floor
- Rest your arms by your sides
- Raise the buttocks off the ground to form an upwardly straight line. This pose involves your body from the shoulders to the knees.
- Hold for 2 minutes
- Lower the buttocks back to the floor
- Rest for a few seconds.
- Repeat 5-10 times
2. Knee-to-chest Stretches
Performing PinteKnee-Knee-to-chest stretch movement may relax your backbone. In addition, it relieves tension and pain.
- Lie on your back
- Bend your knees with both feet flat on the floor
- Use both hands to pull one knee toward your chest.
- Hold the knee against the trunk for 5 seconds
- Keeping the abdomen straight.
- Release your knees.
- Repeat with the other leg.
- Repeat with each leg 2–3 times.
Yoga is a therapy to rejuvenate both your body and mind. The appropriate poses can relax and strengthen your body. Regular practice of yoga, even a few minutes, may help relieve stress and revive your body into balance and alignment. For example, here are a few postures to reduce and prevent back pain.
3. Downward-Facing Dog
- Get on all fours
- Place your hands in alignment with your wrists and knees under your hips.
- Press into your hands, tuck your toes under, and raise your knees.
- Lift your sitting bones upwards.
- bend your knees slightly and stretch your spine
- Place your heels mildly off the ground.
- Hold firmly into your hands.
- Hold your head in line with your shoulders or upper arms.
- Maintain this posture for a minute to 1 minute.
4. Sphinx Pose
It strengthens your spine and buttocks. It may also stretch your chest, shoulders, and abdomen.
- Lie on your tummy with your legs stretched behind.
- With your forearms on the floor and palms facing down, pull your elbows under your shoulders.
- Gradually raise your upper torso.
- Slowly raise your lower abdomen to support your back.
- Remain in this pose for at least 2 minutes.
Millions of people are affected by back pain across the world. Stiffness, pain and restricted movement may impact the quality of your life broadly. The majority of back pain issues are related to obesity or lifestyle. You may prevent back pain by modifying your lifestyle. It helps to a certain extent. Maintaining a healthy weight is the primary measure. Several treatments may help to relieve pain. It helps you live better. Ultimately precautions to prevent the relapse of back pain is your responsibility.