What is back pain ?
Back pain can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain that makes it hard to move. It can start quickly if you fall or lift something too heavy, or it can get worse slowly.
What Causes Back Pain?
Back pain is a complicated problem that stems from several issues, many of which extend from parts other than the spine or back muscles.
There are several ways one can acquire back pains. Some of the more obvious reasons involve injuries from sports or accidents. Others can come from strained muscles or ligaments, improper or heavy lifting, or sudden movements. Sometimes, it can be due to unavoidable factors, such as old age, or situations like obesity.
About 70%-80% of adults experience back pain at some point in their lives. It has been found to be the main reason for doctor’s visits. Fortunately, there are several remedies and treatments available to those suffering from the various manifestations of back pain, including sharp or shooting pain, dull muscle aches, limited flexibility, or even the inability to stand straight.
The first step to provide back pain relief should be to see your doctor. A typical course of treatment for the pain of a muscle spasm or back injury would be the following:
Bed rest for a day or two
1. Local application of either heat or cold, depending on the type of injury
2. A massage of the area, especially for a muscle spasm
3. An over-the-counter pain medication such as Advil, or a muscle relaxant such as Robaxacet®
After the initial symptoms are treated, your doctor may show you some exercises designed to strengthen the back muscles.
What can I do to try to avoid back pain?
Proper lifting techniques and the right exercises can help both those who have never experienced back muscle pain, as well as chronic sufferers. Here are a few tips broken down by category:
1. Always, always, always bend at the knees and not at the waist
2. Never twist while lifting
3. Avoid lifting anything above shoulder level
4. Get help with lifting heavy objects
1. Change positions often
2. Walk with erect posture and wear comfortable shoes
3. When sitting, place both feet on the floor with your knees at least as high as your hips, and firmly against the back of the chair
4. When driving, move your seat close enough to allow your feet to reach the pedals easily, and drive with both hands on the wheel
Work out the kinks
a. Do your exercises every day
b. Lose weight if necessary
c. Take breaks often to avoid overworking your back
Treatments for Back Pain Relief
Back pain treatments can vary depending on the description and location of the pain. Acute back pain, which is back pain that lasts for a short period of time, can generally be remedied through self-care methods such as exercise, over-the-counter medication, or alternative medicines. If the pain is not gone within 72 hours, make an appointment with a doctor to receive a thorough examination.
Chronic back pain, which is defined by those lasting beyond three months, can range a number of causes. For these, several treatment methods exist. Surgical options are available if the back pain has been found to be rooted in the spinal cord or the spinal nerve. In any case, a doctor should be consulted before any surgery is undertaken.