Back Pain

Back pain is frequent complaint. It is the commonest cause of work-related absence in the world. Although back pain may be painful and uncomfortable, it is not usually serious. Even though back pain can affect people of any age, it is significantly more common among adults aged between 25 and 55 years.

Pain in the lower back may be linked to the bony lumbar spine, discs between the vertebrae, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, lower back muscles. Pain in the upper back may be due to disorders of the aorta, tumors in the chest, and spine inflammation.

The risk factors for back pain?

• A mentally stressful job
• A sedentary lifestyle
• Age – older adults are more susceptible than young adults or children
• Gender – back pain is more common among females than males
• Obesity
• Smoking
• Strenuous physical exercise
• Strenuous physical work

Important Causes / Associations

Strained muscles and ligaments or a muscle spasm. This strain occurs mostly because of lifting something too heavy, or lifting things in an improper way.
Structural Problems that lead to spine discs getting ruptured, herniated or protruded.
Sciatica, which is a sharp pain that moves down the back through the buttock.
Osteoporosis – spinal vertebrae becomes weak and fragile to the extent that even a minor fall or mild stress leads to fracture.
Arthritis – inflammation of the joints lead to pain in the lower back, knees, hips and shoulders.
Spinal Stenosis – this means narrowing of spaces within spines, leading to increased pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine.
Spinal Tumour – an abnormal growth that occurs in or around the spinal cord or within the discs.
Other general causes may include infection of the spine, sleep disorders, or simply a bad mattress that does not provide correct support to the spine.

Red Flags : Important signals of something more serious

• Weight loss
• Elevated body temperature (fever)
• Swelling on the back
• Persistent back pain – lying down or resting does not help
• Pain down the legs
• Pain reaches below the knees
• Arecent injury, blow or trauma to your back
• Difficulty urinating – passing urine is hard
• Loss of bowel control
• Numbness around the buttocks

How to get rid of Back Pain?
Following treatment options are known to provide relief from back pain:
• Medical Management – Majority of back pains get relieved by medications, home remedies and some basic lifestyle changes.
• Surgical Treatment – This is required when all other efforts fail to provide relief from back pain. Spinal fusion and other surgical methods are used for treatment of chronic back pain.
• Physical Therapy – Your physiotherapist may use various techniques like cold and hot compression, electric stimulation, etc. to alleviate your back pain.
• Alternative Therapies like chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and relaxation techniques.