nature of back pain and tips on how to manage the condition

Nature of Back Pain and Tips on How to Manage the Condition

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At least 80% of people are affected by back pain according to the American Spinal Decompression Association making it one of the most common human ailments. However, back pain is often only a symptom, which means that in order to address it, you need to find out first what is causing it.

Nature of Back Pain

In many cases, people with back pain often attribute the symptom to poor posture, especially for working individuals who spend their day sitting and slouching on their work desk for long hours every day. They can readily resort to quick fixes like a massage, rest, and the application of topical ointment for back pain.

Upper back pains are often nothing serious and are usually only associated with sore muscles from poor posture, which often affects the shoulder and the muscles surrounding it.

Lower back pain, on the other hand, can be more crippling when it makes your muscles stiff. It usually affects the muscles of your waist and hips. It can be caused by a multitude of complex factors. Either way, back pain easily makes you feel tired and in need of rest, preventing you from being as productive as you would like to be.

In cases of persistent back pain, finding the root cause begins with a couple of tests and evaluations depending on the type of back pain. Typically, physicians might recommend patients undergo an X-ray, MRI scan, CT scan, or other radiological and imaging procedures.

Common Causes of Back Pain

A lot of factors are put into play when it comes to identifying back pain. These include your age and daily physical activities, medical history, the location and intensity of pain, onset, and provoking factors. If you are an athlete or someone who enjoys playing strenuous sports, back pain has to be addressed immediately. Being familiar with the usual causes of pain can help in managing the condition:

Upper Back Pain

  • Bad posture
  • Overworked muscles
  • Improper use of body mechanics
  • Collision accidents

Lower Back Pain

  • Muscle strains and sprains
  • Vertebral disc problems (e.g., herniated disc)
  • Degenerative musculoskeletal problems (like osteoporosis)
  • Joint dysfunction
  • Arthritis
  • Deformities
  • Trauma
  • Fractures

Risk Factors for Back Pain

The most common risk factors for back pain are:

  • Old age
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Occupational hazards
  • Genetic predisposition to spinal diseases
  • Excessive weight
  • Poor posture

How to Manage Back Pain at Home?

By considering these risk factors and common causes, one can easily understand how to avoid back pains as much as possible. However, in cases of mild to moderate back pain, there are home remedies that can provide some relief:

  • Stretching exercises
  • Massage therapies
  • Use of over-the-counter pain medicines
  • Topical pain relievers
  • Warm or cold compress
  • Maintain good posture

Back Pain Prevention Measures

If you engage in physical sports, make sure that your muscles are ready in order to avoid strains. This can be ensured by doing physical exercises that increase muscle strength and tone and using protective gear whenever applicable. In general, however, you can prevent back pain by:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Being mindful of your posture at all times
  • Avoiding smoking, which increases your chances of developing osteoporosis
  • Keeping an exercise or fitness routine
  • Avoiding a sedentary lifestyle
  • Incorporating foods that are rich sources of calcium and protein in your diet

When to call your doctor?

Some cases of back pain get worse over time, which is why you should also watch out for certain signs that indicate the need for immediate medical attention. It is recommended to call your doctor when you start experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Pain that is not relieved by home remedies
  • Debilitating back pain that prevents you from moving and being productive
  • Pain that worsens over time even with medicine
  • Pain that disrupts your sleep or keeps you from sleeping
  • Back pain that radiates to other parts of your body
  • Pain associated with numbness or tingling sensations
  • Chronic pain that lasts for weeks
  • Back pain secondary to fall accidents, which might be a manifestation of a more severe musculoskeletal injury

Cases of severe back pain require more evaluations and tests. In most cases, more aggressive treatments are given depending on the findings, which can range from recurrent pain relief injections to complex surgeries involving the spinal column. On the other hand, treatments that require physical therapy may last for months or years for the patient to make a full recovery.

Although most people treat back pain as a minor ailment that can be easily relieved with simple home remedies and some over-the-counter medicines, keeping an eye on worsening back pain is important. By being watchful of the symptoms that do not go away, you can help screen for possible underlying diseases involving your back.

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