Researches have shown that backpain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work, and it is a leading cause of disability worldwide.
Back pain can range from a muscle aching to a shooting, burning, or stabbing sensation. In addition, the pain may radiate down your leg or worsen with bending, twisting, lifting, standing, or walking.
If the backpain persists past a few weeks, is severe and doesn’t improve with rest, spreads down one or both legs significantly if the pain extends below the knee, causes weakness, numbness or tingling in one or both legs are accompanied by unexplained weight loss. One should see a doctor at the earliest.
Causes of Backache
Backpain often develops without a cause that your doctor can identify with a test or an imaging study. Conditions commonly linked to back pain include:
Muscle or ligament strain. Repeated heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement can strain back muscles and spinal ligaments. If you’re in poor physical condition, constant strain on your back can cause painful muscle spasms.
Bulging or ruptured discs. Disks act as cushions between the bones (vertebrae) in your spine. The soft material inside a disk can bulge or rupture and press on a nerve. However, you can have a bulging or ruptured disk without back pain. Disk disease is often found incidentally when you have spine X-rays for some other reason.
Arthritis. Osteoarthritis can affect the lower back. In some cases, arthritis in the spine can narrow the space around the spinal cord, and a condition called spinal stenosis.
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How to prevent backpain?
Exercise: Regular low-impact aerobic activities — those that don’t strain or jolt your back — can increase strength and endurance in your back and allow your muscles to function better. Walking and swimming are good choices. Talk with your doctor about which activities you might try.
Build muscle strength and flexibility: Abdominal and back muscle exercises, which strengthen your core, help condition these muscles so that they work together like a natural corset for your back.
Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight strains back muscles. If you’re overweight, trimming down can prevent back pain.
Quit smoking. Smoking increases your risk of low back pain. The risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day, so quitting should help reduce this risk.
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Stand smart: Don’t slouch. Maintain a neutral pelvic position. If you must stand for long periods, place one foot on a low footstool to take some load off your lower back—alternate feet. Good posture can reduce the stress on back muscles.
Sit smart: Choose a seat with good lower back support, armrests, and a swivel base. Placing a pillow or rolled towel in the small of your back can maintain its standard curve. Keep your knees and hips level. Change your position frequently, at least every half-hour.
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Avoid heavy lifting, if possible, but if you must lift something serious, let your legs do the work. Keep your back straight — no twisting — and bend only at the knees. Hold the load close to your body. Find a lifting partner if the object is heavy or awkward.
Treatment of backache
Most back pain gets better within a month of home treatment. However, everyone is different, and back pain is a complex condition. For many, the pain doesn’t go away for a few months, but only a few have persistent, severe pain.
Over-the-counter pain relievers and the use of heat might be all one needs. Bed rest isn’t recommended.
One should continue their activities as much as they can tolerate. They can also try light activities, such as walking and activities of daily living. Stop the training that increases pain, but don’t avoid activity out of fear of pain. After several weeks, the doctor might suggest stronger medications or other therapies if home treatments aren’t working.
A physical therapist can teach you exercises to increase your flexibility, strengthen your back and abdominal muscles, and improve posture. Regular use of these techniques can help keep pain from returning. Physical therapists will also provide education about modifying your movements during an episode of back pain to avoid flaring pain symptoms while continuing to be active.
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