Back pain is something that can happen to anybody, regardless of their profession and habits, but the real problem arises when the occasional ache turns into chronic pain. This is when most people seek medical help and therapy to fix the issue. If you want to know what the most common causes and treatments for back pain are, here is everything you should know.
Causes of back pain
In most cases it’s actually impossible to identify exactly what’s causing back pain. This type of pain, which appears for no obvious reason, is called non-specific.
On other occasions, back pain can be caused by an existing medical condition. Some of the conditions which can lead to back pain are a slipped disc, sciatica, ankylosing spondylitis, spondylolisthesis or an injury like a strain or a sprain. Slipped or prolapsed disc occurs when a nerve is pressed by a disc of cartilage, and sciatica is nerve irritation that spreads from your pelvis to your feet. Ankylosing spondylitis is the swelling of joints in your spine, while spondylolisthesis means that a bone in your spine has slipped out of its normal position. These conditions are accompanied by symptoms such as numbness, weakness, stiffness and tingling.
The type of pain sometimes caused by strains and sprains is called mechanical. It can originate from soft tissues, bones or joints in or around your spine. Mechanical pain can subside or worsen depending on your body position at any given moment and it usually feels worse when you move. However, although movement may seem even more painful, it’s actually very helpful and shouldn’t be avoided. Mechanical pain can also be a result of bad posture, and can occur suddenly or through time, but it normally begins getting better in a few weeks.
When to seek help?
In majority of cases back pain starts getting better without any treatment within several weeks or months. However, if the pain is still equally intense after a few weeks, if it’s preventing you from functioning normally when it comes to your daily activities, if it’s gradually getting worse, or if you simply can’t deal with the severity of it, you should make an appointment with your GP or another medical professional who can help you. Your GP will probably inquire about your symptoms, give you a back examination and talk to you about available treatments. If they feel that you should see a specialist or a physiotherapist, they’ll refer you to one.
Seeing a specialist doctor is probably the safest option for those people whose pain has lasted for longer than those initial few weeks. The most important thing is to rely only on trusted experts who aren’t afraid to show the results of their work. One great example is the acclaimed Dr Timothy Steel’s neurosurgery journal. It’s a great way for doctors to give information about various interventions and innovative treatments to patients, but also to their fellow doctors all around the world.
How is back pain treated?
Most people with back pain will manage it with some over-the-counter pain medications, while others will try some home remedies. Simple exercises and physical activity such as swimming or walking might help, but the key is to stay active. People who engage in moderate physical activity are more likely to recover in shorter time than those who turn to bed rest. Also, hot and cold packs can be helpful when applied to the affected spot.
On the other hand, a specialist may recommend other type of treatments, such as exercise classes, manual therapy and different medications. Other ways of treating back pain include spinal manipulation, acupuncture, biofeedback or nerve block therapies. Only in the most serious of cases, when no other therapy is helpful, will a specialist suggest a surgery as a solution to a problem with back pain. There are many surgical procedures which can be performed to help with back pain, but it’s essential that patients are aware of all the risks they involve before making such a big decision.
With the help of this basic guide to back pain and coping with it, find the best way to get relief and solve the problems leading to the pain.