Back pain can be quite annoying and it can keep you away from working and enjoying your normal life. It can happen to anyone at any age but its more common in adults and older people. At times, it may get unbearable and may require the attention of an expert health care provider. It has been also seen that back pain is the second most common reason why most people visit healthcare providers. It has also been estimated that close to 80% of the people around the world would suffer from back pain at one point or the other.
Types of Back Pain
Back pain can be categorized into few types depending on its location. You may get back pain in your upper, middle or lower part of the spine. It can also occur on your left, center or right side of your back. The pain can also be of different intensity: mild, moderate or severe. Moreover, it can also be an acute pain or a chronic condition.
Symptoms of Back Pain
- dull aching in the lower back
- shooting pain in upper or lower part of your back
- reduced mobility and range of motion
- not able to sit, walk or stand properly
Symptoms that last only for few days or weeks are related to acute back pain but those that last for more than 3 months can be related to chronic back pain.
If your symptoms do not subside or improve within a few weeks, they might be an indication of a bigger problem. Some symptoms that might be a sign of serious health condition include:
- Not being able to control your bladder or bowel efficiently
- Numb or weak legs
- Pain in your back after an injury
- Pain that gets worse at night
- Sudden weight loss
- Fever that doesn’t go away
People at Risk of Back Pain
There is no denying that back pain can affect people of various ages. However, the older you get, the more likely you are to develop back pain. Also, below-mentioned factors play important role and can make you prone to back pain:
- If you do not workout, exercise or play any sports.
- Certain medical conditions like cancer, arthritis, etc.
- Smoking and using tobacco-based products
- If you lift heavy objects using your back and not your legs
- If you do not maintain healthy body weight
- Taking too much stress
Causes of Back Pain
Back pain occurs due to various reasons and it may vary from one person to another. However, some common reasons for back pain include:
- Various types of arthritis
- Degeneration of the disk in the vertebra
- Spinal stenosis
- Accidents, trauma or injury
- Cancer or tumor
- Abdominal aneurisms
- Inflammation in the gallbladder
- Kidney stones
- Liver problems
Diagnosis of Back Pain
When you visit your healthcare provider to get your condition evaluated, he may ask multiple questions, try to understand your symptoms, medical history, lifestyle habits, etc. He may also conduct a physical examination and recommend few tests such as:
- MRI scans
- CT scans
- Bone scan
Treatment of Back Pain
The treatment of your back pain may depend on your cause and generally the following methods are used to provide relief to the person suffering from back pain:
- Hot/Cold pads
- Certain types of stretching exercises
- Use of antibiotics
- Physical therapy
- Over the counter pain medications
- Chiropractic Care
- Use of surgery in some cases
Prevention of Back Pain
- Eat a healthy and nutritious diet that has essential vitamins and minerals
- Participate in various physical activities, play sports and workout daily
- Do not forget to stretch post your workout
- Maintain a proper sitting posture
- Keep your back straight while walking or sitting
- Quit smoking and do not use tobacco-based products
- Manage your stress level by practicing yoga, meditation, pranayama, etc.
- Do not wear shoes that have high heels
Pregnancy and Back Pain
Back pain is quite common during pregnancies and there are various reasons for the same. This pain can occur when your baby is growing, when you gain weight and when your body releases certain types of hormones that loosen the ligaments.
Exercises to Help Ease the Symptoms of Back Pain
- Bridge Pose
- Cat and Cow Pose
- Knee-to-chest stretch
- Shoulder blade squeeze
- Seated lower back rotational stretch
- Child’s pose
- Seated spinal twist
- Cobra pose
Should You Stretch Your Back if it Hurts?
If it hurts a little, you try a few of the above-mentioned moderate poses to help relieve pain. However, if the pain is too much, it is advised that you talk to your healthcare provider and seek his recommendations. You can also take the help of a physiotherapist who is an expert in dealing with such matters.
If your back pain is acute and occasional, it might be due to postural stress. Most back pains are also seasonal and do go away on their own. However, if your pain continues or gets worse, do visit your healthcare provider to seek proper treatment.
This blog has been written after performing in-depth secondary research related to the topic from various articles, blogs, and journals with expertise in writing for healthcare. The content on this page should not be considered a substitute for medical expertise.