The human back is a complex structure which consists of 24 vertebrae, intervertebral discs, tendon, ligaments, spinal cord, nerves and muscles.
Back pain is not an unusual health problem. As name indicates, back pain is the pain felt anywhere on your back. Any people can get back pain. Most of the people will have to experience back pain even once in their life. Any damages to these components can lead to back pain.
Back pain can be acute or chronic. Most times, back pain can be relieved without any treatments. But in some cases, pain may persist or continue for longer periods. Medical diagnosis and proper treatment is necessary in such cases.
Back pain can affect people regardless of their age, but it is more common among people between ages 35 and 55.
Most often back pain problems can be cured without any treatments. But for some people, pain may be continuing. Medical treatment is necessary in such cases.
Common sign and symptoms are;
- Pain anywhere on your back
- Swelling on the back
- Persistent back pain
- Inability to stand up straight
- Difficulty and inconsistent urination
- Painful motion in the back
- Numbness around the genitals and anus
- Bowel or bladder problems
- Unintended weight loss
- Pain, weakness or numbness in legs.
Back pain can occur due to many reasons.
Any injuries or damages to any components of your back can result in back pain.
Strained muscles or ligaments
- Lifting heavy objects or improper lifting
- A sudden awkward movement
- Muscle spasm
- Ruptured disk
- Herniated disk
- Spinal stenosis
- Bone fracturing osteoporosis
Causes related with everyday activities
- Poor posture
- Lifting something improperly
- Lifting heavy weighing objects
- Continuous sitting in a position for long times; during work or driving
- Awkward bending
- Bending down for long periods
- Coughing or sneezing
- Stressful job
- Middle aged people
- Lack of physical exercises
Diagnostic imaging tests are not necessary always to detect your back pain. Physical examination or clues from the patients are much enough for most of the doctors to confirm your back pain.
But certain imaging tests can find the source of severe pains.
X-rays can show the alignment of the bones and whether the patient has arthritis or broken bones. Problems related with muscles, the spinal cord, nerves or disks may not be identified using this.
MRI or CT scans – herniated discs and problems with tissue, tendons, nerves, ligaments, blood vessels, muscles and bones can be traced by an MRI or CT scan.
Bone scan – A bone scan reveal bone fractures and tumors.
Electromyography or EMG – This test is usually conducted to confirm nerve compression caused by narrowing of spinal canal. Electrical impulses produced by the nerves would be measured here.
BACK PAIN TREATMENT
Certain home remedies and careful attention can reveal back pain in most cases. Some of the pain relievers are available without prescription of doctor. If you do not get benefit from this, other medications can be used.
Your doctor may recommend you pain relievers such as acetaminophen or anti-inflammatory drugs (nonsteroidal), such as ibuprofen or naproxen. These medications are effective at relieving back pain.
Narcotics, such as codeine or hydrocodone can be used under strict monitoring of your doctor.
Amitriptyline is an antidepressant which can improve your pain and other related symptoms.
Physical therapies like heat or ice application and electrical or ultrasound stimulation can relieve pain from your back muscles and soft tissues. Regular practice of these techniques can help prevent recurrence of pain.
A cortisone injection can reduce the inflammation around the nerve roots. Cortisone is an anti-inflammatory medication which is injected into the space around your spinal canal or epidural space for relieving symptoms of back pain. This cortisone injection can produce effective results.
Surgery is needed to cure back pain in very rare cases. Surgery would be performed only if all other treatment options are found ineffective. You may benefit from surgery if you are suffering from symptoms like radiating leg pain or muscle weakness due to nerve compression. Some patients with back pain may have certain anatomical structural problems related with this pain. Surgical treatment is necessary in such cases. Surgical procedure may include fusion, artificial disc insertion and partial or complete removal of disc or vertebrae.
PREVENTION OF BACK PAIN
- Regular exercise
- Avoid smoking
- Maintain your body weight
- Keep better posture
- Avoid lifting overweighing objects
- Wear flat shoes
- Keep good posture and take breaks during driving
- Use good mattress