Back Pain

What is Back Pain?

Just like people, back pain comes in many shapes and sizes. The pain can range extremely in intensity and can go from mild to severe. Back pain can also range in type due to the location. Back pain is typically classified using the following regions.

Back pain regions

  • Upper back
  • Middle back
  • Lower back
  • Sciatica
  • Night time back pain

What are the Symptoms of Back Pain?

The human back carries a lot of weight on a daily basis. The back supports our posture, our body weight and everything we lift and carry. The pain is typically caused by something in the back being “off.” Usually this is because of damage in the spinal joints, the back muscles, the spinal discs, and the nerves in your back. It can also be caused by the way that all of these components fit together.

Causes

  • Herniated discs
  • Slipped discs
  • Bulging discs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Swelling of the sacroiliac joint
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Cervical radiculopathy
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Accidents
  • Injuries
  • Fractures
  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Spasms
  • Lifestyle
  • Emotions

Back Pain Causes

There are a huge variety of causes of back pain; some may be acute injuries, others may be historic or degenerative injuries and more still could be underlying health conditions.

The most common injuries to the back which could cause pain are:

  • Strains, when muscles are stretched too far
  • Sprains, when ligaments are stretched too far

Both sprains and strains, which tend to lead to acute, temporary pain, could be caused by:

  • Heavy lifting
  • Twisting the spine when lifting
  • Sudden movements, like a fall
  • Poor posture
  • Sports injuries which involve harsh impacts or twisting

Chronic back pain can be caused by a wide range of conditions or more serious back injuries, such as trauma sustained in a car accident.

Some examples of chronic injuries and conditions are:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Curvature of the spine
  • Herniated disc
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Facet joint dysfunction
  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Autoimmune disease (such as ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis)

In very rare cases, back pain can be caused by severe infection of the spine, called osteomyelitis, or a tumor on the spine.

How is Back Pain Treated?

Treatment for back pain depends on the cause of the pain. Treatments can be just as diverse as the number reasons people experience back pain. Typical treatment may involve a number of treatments.

Treatment includes

  • Seeing a chiropractor regularly
  • Accupuncture
  • Spinal stimulation
  • Physical therapy
  • Nerve blockers
  • Pain medication
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Back surgery

There are many different treatments for back pain and your doctor may use a variety of treatments to help control and limit your back pain. It is extremely common for doctors to recommend physical therapy as a first course of action when it comes to back pain. This is because the primary reason for back pain is due to lifestyle triggers, like slouching or lifting things improperly.

By strengthening your back, you can realign the ligaments, muscles, and joints in your spine. By strengthening the structures in your back, there will be less leeway for them to become misaligned and shift, which entraps nerves, causes inflammation and causes pain.

Back Pain Prevention

Although it’s not possible to prevent many of the conditions which can cause back pain, it is possible to minimize sprains and strains which can lead to acute pain. An important way to do this is to adopt correcting sitting, standing and lifting postures to reduce the risk of twisting or straining the back incorrectly.

This process may be helped by strengthening the muscles and ligaments in the back and improving flexibility in the back. Core-strengthening exercises are particularly helpful, but you should also strive for good flexibility and alignment in your legs and hips to prevent back injuries. Regular low-impact aerobics, such as swimming and walking, will also help to improve strength and endurance of the muscles in the back.

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