Amelia Grant

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Author: AmeliaGrant

Everything You Need to Know About Back Pain

Although, anyone no matter their age can be affected by back pain, it commonly occurs among patients between the ages of thirty-five and fifty-five years. Experts suggest that it’s related to how the ligaments, bones, and muscles in the back connect and work together.

Lower back pain can be associated with your lumbar spine’s bony area, nerves, spinal cord, discs, ligaments that surround your spine, and discs in between your vertebrae. Along with the skin surrounding your lumbar area, internal pelvic organs, muscles in the lower back, and the abdomen. However, upper back pain might also be caused by disorders of your aorta, inflammation in the spine, and tumors in your chest.

In general, back pain might vary from a constant dull ache to a sharp sudden pain, which can cause difficulty in moving around. Sometimes the pain may start suddenly when you lift a heavy object or fall, or the pain might slow progress.  

Risk factors for back pain
The following things can increase the risk of you developing back pain: 
- Smoking – The body might find it difficult to get sufficient nutrients into the back’s disks when you smoke. A smoker’s cough can also be the reason for pain in the back, and normally patients who smoke heal much slower, which may cause back pain to last longer.
- The type of job you have – Any job where you must pull, lift, or push something, can cause back pain, as well as sitting all day in front of a desk, without sitting upright.
- Certain diseases – Some diseases like cancer and arthritis may be the reason for your back pain.
- Heredity – Sometimes back pain can be caused due to a genetic problem, like ankylosing spondylitis, which is a type of arthritis that may affect your spine.
- Due to being overweight – Diets high in certain fats, sugars, and calories can cause weight gain, this may cause the weight to put extra stress on your back and be the reason for pain.
- Being physically unfit – It’s very common for patients that are physically unfit to develop back pain.
- Aging – Older patients will be more prone to developing back pain, and it can start as early as between thirty and forty years of age.

Some causes of back pain
Certain problems with your back may be the cause of your pain. They include:
- Injuries due to falls, accidents, fractures, and sprains may result in back pain.
- Ruptured disks
- Tense muscles
- Spasms
- Disk breakdown

Some diseases and conditions can be a reason for back pain, like:
- Fibromyalgia
- Endometriosis
- Infections
- Kidney stones
- Pregnancy
- Spinal stenosis
- Arthritis
- Spondylolisthesis
- Scoliosis
- Stress
- Tumors

How to prevent back pain?
You can keep the back muscles very strong by exercising regularly. It’s necessary to maintain a healthy weight and lose some when you are overweight.  To develop strong bones, it’s important to get sufficient vitamin D and calcium daily. Keep your back straight when you stand and avoid lifting something heavy if possible, and if you need to lift a heavy object, keep the back straight and bend the legs.

Back pain usually can resolve on its own, without any medical treatment or over-the-counter painkillers, depending on the cause. Applying ice packs or hot compresses on painful areas may also reduce pain. Resting can help, as long as it doesn’t last for too many days because excessive rest might weaken your muscles and cause additional future back pain.

Generally, it’s categorized into 2 different types:
- Acute – When pain occurs suddenly and lasts for up to 3 months
- Chronic – If pain develops gradually over a period that is longer, and persists for more than 3 months while causing long-term problems

When treatments at home don't relieve your pain, it is better to contact a spine center.

If over-the-counter painkillers don't relieve your back pain, a prescription might be required for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs/NSAIDs. Hydrocodone or Codeine narcotics can be prescribed over short periods, which will require your doctor to closely monitor your condition. Sometimes tricyclic antidepressants, like amitriptyline, may alleviate back pain symptoms, even though you are not depressed.

Physical therapy
Certain applications, such as electrical stimulation, ultrasound, ice, heat, and also some techniques of muscle release on your back’s soft tissues and muscles can relieve your pain. When your pain subsided the therapist might suggest some strength and flexibility exercises for abdominal and back muscles. Some techniques to improve your posture can help as well. It’s recommended that you practice these techniques regularly, even when you don’t experience pain anymore because it will prevent the pain from reoccurring.

Injections with cortisone
Your doctor might recommend cortisone injections if not any of the other therapies are effective, or when the pain spreads down your legs. It’s an anti-inflammatory drug, which helps to reduce inflammation that affects the roots of your nerve. These injections can last for up to six weeks.

If you have sudden pain or persisting pain, it is best to see a pain management doctor or specialist.


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