Back pain includes low- back, middle-back or upper-back. Most common causes of back pain are nerve and muscular problems, degenerative disc disease, and arthritis.
Very often back injuries are a result of poor habits, accidents, muscle strains, and injuries from sports.
Back pain symptoms can include
- Pain and stiffness of the spine.
- Sharp and stabbing pain in the neck or back during activities like lifting, stretching etc
- Chronic back pain after sitting or standing for long periods of time
- Low stabbing back pain traveling along the back of the legs
- Inability to stand upright and erect without pain in the back.
Seek immediate help from your doctor if
- You feel tingling, numbness or weakness in the arms, legs or groin due to spinal cord damage.
- Sciatica causes shooting pain in the low-back area and extends downward along the back of the leg
- Herniated disks cause pain when coughing or bending
- Back pain accompanied by fever, burning during or increased frequency of urination could mean an infection.
- Bowel and bladder problems.
Diagnostic Tests for Back Pain
Doctors generally use imaging tests for checking out ongoing pain, especially when you have a fever and nervous problems like weakening or numbness in the arms and legs.
- Physical examination will reveal how much you can move and whether the nerves are functioning. Blood tests and urine tests can reveal pain due to kidney stones. Gout can be diagnosed with the Uric acid test.
- X-rays show broken bones and spinal alignment problems.
- An MRI or CT-Scan can reveal soft-tissue damage like a herniated disk.
- An EMG( Electromyogram) helps find nerve and muscle damage.
Treatment for Back Pain
Treatment at Home
Rest, medications to relieve the pain, and an ice-pack can relieve most inflammations. A heating pad or pack helps with soothing muscles and connective tissues.
Use of a firm mattress, avoiding high heels and attention to your posture will prevent further stress on the back.
Exercise and Physiotherapy
Physiotherapy and exercise will strengthen the body, abdominal and back muscles and helps stabilize the spine. To prevent further back injury learn from your physiotherapist stretching exercises, Pilates, and the right posture when lifting things, sitting for long periods etc.
Your physiotherapist may use Yoga exercises, Massage therapy, heat and ultrasound devices, aqua-therapy, whirlpools, Jacuzzis, paralysis treatment aids etc to help your flexibility, stress relief, strength, sense of balance and pain management.
Pain relievers, muscle relaxants, antidepressants and anticonvulsants as prescribed by the doctor can relieve some of the pain. The down-side is an addiction to them and drowsiness. Steroid injections may be used by some specialists.
Specialized additional treatments like Chiropractic and Osteopathic treatment, Acupuncture, Nerve Stimulation, Counseling and Behavioral Therapy and Surgery may also be used by the specialists depending on the causes of the back pain, the severity of damage to the nervous system, the age of the injury and previous therapies used.
If you have an unresponsive backache or any of the flagged symptoms you must seek an expert opinion on the cause. Most times back-pain will last a lifetime and regular exercise under the expert guidance of a physiotherapist the best way to prevent further damage, learning to accept and deal with back pain.
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