Back pain is one of the most common issues people self-medicate and seek medical attention. It will affect about three in four adults in their lifetime.
It is caused by a variety of health problems which can make it extremely difficult to identify the root cause of back pain. Sometimes the cause is clear, and sometimes even a medical team can’t figure out why your back is hurting. In many cases, it will disappear on its own, but in some cases, it will last for months or even years.
The following is a guide to everything related to back pain: the causes, complications, how to diagnose, how to treat, how to endure, alleviate, and prevent its severity.
What Conditions Can Cause Back Pain?
In all the different areas of back pain (neck pain, upper back pain, lower back pain, and tailbone pain) – many conditions can make it worse. Many diseases, illnesses, and disorders can also lead to back pain. Some of the most common causes are:
- Sprains and strains: Over-stretched or torn ligaments.
- Degenerative disc disease: An aging-related disease in which the intervertebral discs break down.
- Herniated disc: When the cushions move out of position between the vertebrae and press on the nerves. That occurs in the lumbar region, leading to sciatica.
- Sciatica: Compressed nerve pain in the buttocks – which in most cases results in severe pain below the knee.
- Pregnancy-related backache: 50 – 80% of pregnant women experience back pain.
- Arthritis: It is characterized by tenderness and swelling – and back pain could be the cause of various types of arthritis.
- Stress: Daily stress can also aggravate back pain.
- Depression: Depression may lead to back pain, or depression can be caused by chronic pain.
How to Get a Diagnosis for Back Pain?
Whether your back pain is on the “seeking emergency medical care” list above, or you are following the gut response saying “go to the doctor” – below is what you can expect.
- Medical history overview – including family members with a back problem. Some back problems (such as osteoporosis and scoliosis) have genetic potential.
- Physical examination – can assess your vital signs (such as heart rate). The doctor examines your spine, unusual sensations, and tender areas.
- Neurological examination – involves evaluating sensations and functions.
After a thorough examination, your doctor will probably have reached one or two conclusions about the cause of your back pain and other symptoms. To get more information about your back issue and to confirm the diagnosis, your doctor may need to perform an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan. Sometimes laboratory tests may also be required. Remember that an accurate diagnosis is essential to a well-developed treatment plan.
What Are Some Back Pain Treatments?
It’s comforting to know that you don’t always (or even usually) have to go the surgical route to resolve back pain issues. In addition to traditional non-surgical treatments (such as pain medications, topical pain relievers, muscle relaxants, over-the-counter or prescription drugs), various physical activities, forms of complementary and alternative medicine can help you relieve back pain.
- Try This At Home
If you bend in the wrong way and experience back pain, you don’t necessarily need to call a doctor. Try heat treatments first to heal minor sprains or strains. A hot bath, steamed towel (lukewarm), heat packs, warming gels, or heating pads can relieve back pain and muscle stiffness. Ice or reusable cold packs applied throughout the day can also help relieve mild pain.
- Sleep Well
Sleeping may be difficult when you have back pain. This can be a vicious phase, because your back pain may get worse when you don’t get enough sleep. Poor sleeping posture can also aggravate backache. Try to lie on your side. Put a pillow between your knees to keep your spine in a neutral position and reduce pressure on the back. If you have to sleep on your back – put a pillow under your knees. Also, make sure you sleep on a comfortable firm mattress.
- Good Posture
Slouching is harmful to you. Poor posture can also worsen the backache problem, especially when sitting for long periods. Don’t let yourself fall over your keyboard. Sit up straight, with your shoulders relaxed and your body supported on the back of the chair. Try placing a rolled-up towel or pillow between your seat and your lower back with your feet flat on the floor.
Two types of over-the-counter pain relievers often help with back pain: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen. Both have some side effects, and some people may not be able to use them. Consult your doctor before taking painkillers. And not only focus on medication to solve your pain. Studies show that you might need multiple treatments for your back issue.
- Physical Therapy
If your back pain persists, consider physical therapy, as recommended by various spine specialists. Manual therapy to make you feel better is the first thing to try. Secondly, a physical therapist teaches you some exercises for back self-care. Their goal is to prevent the recurrence of the back issue. Use strengthening exercises to help you build core muscles. Activity beats bed rest. A sedentary lifestyle is a wrong response to the back problem.
- Back surgery
If the bulging disc puts pressure on the nerves, your surgeon may recommend a discectomy to remove some of the disc material. Or suggest laminectomy to decompress an area that puts pressure on the nerves or spinal cord. A spinal fusion can also be done to stabilize the spine. Like all surgeries, these surgeries have risks and are not always successful. Therefore, they should be the last option.
People can often manage back pain with the help of home remedies and some patience. However, a person should consult a doctor for chronic or severe back pain. The doctor may recommend medication, physical therapy, or other treatments. Individuals with pre-existing health conditions or regular medications should talk to a doctor before trying any herbs or supplements.
If you are interested in learning more about health and wellness, I encourage you to schedule an appointment with one of our trusted practitioners at SHIN Wellness. We offer many holistic treatments such as Decompression Therapy, Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Neurofeedback, Psychology, Reiki, Nutrition, Corrective Exercises, and Massage. If you need some help figuring out what service is right for you, try our personalized consultation. Our Wellness Center and Chiropractor office in Miami Florida specializes in restoring your health!