Back Pain


Individuals who suffer from back pain suffer from one of the most aggravating and irritating types of pain.  Often this is a type of pain that will flare up from time to time and then go away.  Therefore, it can be frustrating to treat it.  In addition, back pain is difficult to soothe.  Individuals can try to massage the pain on their own, but may fail because of the location.  And medications may only be so effective.  However, if the back is hurting, every time an individual is moving the pain will be apparent.  That is the problem with back pain.  The following information will guide individuals as they seek to understand, manage, and treat their back pain.

Where It Starts And What It Feels Like

Back pain can actually be in several different regions – the upper back and shoulder area, the mid-back, or the lower back. Depending on what is actually causing the pain, the entire back may hurt or the pain may be much more localized. It may affect only one region, and can also affect a small spot or just one side of the back. This makes it complicated to determine a treatment.  It could vary depending on where the pain is located.

Because the back carries so much load and the muscles there are used for so many things, some of the people who have back pain actually developed it because of a problem in another area. Most back pain is dull and achy and often persistent, but stabbing, immediate pains can also be felt in the back, depending on the nature of the problem.

Common Causes And Conditions of Back Pain

There are all kinds of reasons why a person's back might hurt. Most of them are benign and will go away on their own, but that doesn't mean that they don't require any rest or over-the-counter treatment to handle the symptoms until the person feels better. Here are some common reasons for back pain.

•    A pulled muscle – as one of the most common reasons for a person's back to hurt, pulled muscles can be very aggravating. They can sometimes take a long time to heal up, too, because it's almost impossible not to use the back for anything in order to give the muscles time to heal.
•    A slipped or ruptured disc – slipped and ruptured discs generally cause chronic pain in a person's back. They can require a lot of treatment, but they don't always bother someone all of the time. People with these kinds of back problems need to be more careful, though, so that they don't do more damage to their back over time.
•    Scoliosis – a curvature of the spine, scoliosis is actually fairly common. It can be corrected with a back brace in childhood, but once a person stops growing the curvature can only be corrected through surgery. Most cases of scoliosis aren't severe enough to need that, but the spinal curvature can cause a person to sit and stand a bit unnaturally, which can cause the back to hurt.
•    Discogenic Back Pain – this pain is often a cause of low back pain.  This condition is the result of damage to the intervertabral disc.  Yet, there is no disc herniation.  Individuals who suspect they are suffering from this problem should request a discogram.
•    Spinal Stenosis – this is a problem that causes in back pain in older people because the spinal canal becomes constricted due to arthritis and other conditions.  When the spinal canal is too tight, back pain results.
•    Lumbar Spine Arthritis – arthritis typically affects the common joints (knees, fingers, toes).  However, it can affect any joint in the body including the small joints in the spine.  Those that suffer from this condition experience back pain when they move.
•    Spondylolisthesis – this occurs when the adjacent vertebra in the back become unstable and begin to slip.  Usually this is caused by degenerative changes that cause loss of normal structure to the spinal column.  And if the spine becomes unstable enough, back pain will result.
•    Osteoporosis – this condition is closely related to compression fractures in the vertebra.  It causes weak bones and orthopedic problems.  Those that suffer from this problem will experience general discomfort and back pain.

Common Treatment Options for Back Pain

Treating back pain can be frustrating because it's hard to tell what causes it in a lot of cases. Treating something that can't be easily diagnosed is a recipe for aggravation. However, there are some basic treatment options that can be used for handling back pain and feeling better.

•    Ice and heat work well for pulled and sore muscles. They won't fix the muscle, but they'll help to alleviate the pain and allow the muscles to relax. That can help the person feel better while the back injury heals.
•    Bed rest is also recommended for back injuries. Because the back does so much, lying still is one of the only ways to truly rest the back muscles. If the pain doesn't get better, though, or it gets worse over time, seeing the doctor can be a very good idea, because it can help rule out more serious causes for the pain.
•    Physical therapy is often helpful to help strengthen and rework the muscles of the back.  A doctor may recommend it.  It is a good idea to seek medical evaluation if back pain persists over time.
•    Anti-inflammatory medicines will also be helpful to combat pain and reduce any inflammation in the back.  It is important to be careful not to overdo it with these medications.
•    Camomile is a great option to drink as tea.  Use 10 to 20 drops of it as an extract.  It has a calming effect on muscle tissue.
•    Take a bath in Epsom salt.  This is a common remedy for relieving pain.  It can be repeated often and it is good for the skin.

Holistic Approach

In addition, there are several holistic approaches that may be helpful to treat back pain.  Since there is rarely a magic pill that will eliminate the pain, the alternative options sometimes prove to be extremely effective.  Here are some suggestions.

•    Yoga is one of the best methods for strengthening the back.  The yoga stretches and meditations can do a lot for an individual’s back and body.  Many people find that regular participation in yoga is one of the best things they can do to prevent and eliminate back pain.
•    Massage therapy is another natural remedy that helps many people who are suffering from back pain.  These individuals seek the help of a massage therapist often (sometimes weekly) to massage their back area.  It is a nice option since it is nearly impossible to massage the back alone.  And having someone qualified to massage the area will probably generate the best results.
•    Change the mattress.  Often back pain is a result of a poor mattress.  Determine whether or a mattress upgrade is necessary.  If it is, a new mattress could be extremely beneficial and promote a healthier rest.
•    Acupuncture is one of the most popular forms of alternative medicine.  An acupuncturist is skilled at relieving back pain.  They understand how to target areas of pain and relief them.  It is a great option.

When To See A Doctor for Back Pain

Although back pain is difficult to treat, there are instances where medical attention could be beneficial.  Typically most episodes of back pain only last a few days.  However, there are cases when it will last much longer.  If this occurs, seeing a doctor only makes sense.  In addition, there are other warning signs to look out for.  These signs help individuals know whether or not they need to see a doctor.

•    Back pain should not keep people up at night.  If it does, this is a reason to see the doctor.
•    If back pain is combined with bowel problems or bladder issues, then it is also wise to see the doctor.
•    Back pain on top of fever, chills, sweats, or other signs of infection is not good.  See a doctor.
•    See the doctor if anything unusual happens.  It is better to be safe than sorry.

Managing Back Pain

Since back pain will not go away in a day, managing it is important.  Individuals cannot take a pill to eliminate the problem.  In addition, they cannot stay off their back like they can when they suffer from foot pain.  Therefore, proper management involves making important decisions.  It is vital that these individuals make circumstantial decisions that will not hinder the treatment process.  Instead, their choices should promote healing and hopefully allow them to begin living a healthier and happier life.

It is vital that they avoid heavy lifting.  Lifting heavy objects will only make the pain worse.  In addition, avoid activities that cause pulling on the back muscles.  Try not to reach.  Be a little bit more careful.  And, when exercising, take it down a notch so that the pain in the back does not flare up.  Certain exercises may need to be avoided until the back pain has disappeared. 

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