Back pain is a medical condition that affects many people. It affects your daily activities. Back pain is also a symptom of other medical conditions. Hence, it is necessary to determine the cause of this problem and seek proper treatment for getting relief from back ache.
Symptoms Of Back Pain
The symptoms of back pain include persistent ache or stiffness along the spine, chronic middle or lower backache especially after standing or sitting for long periods and difficulty in standing straight without suffering from severe muscle spasms in the lower back. People with back pain also experience a sharp, localized pain in the neck and upper or lower back on lifting heavy weights or performing a strenuous activity.
Causes Of Back Pain
There are various medical problems that can result in back pain. You can experience pain in the back due to mechanical problems, injuries, acquired conditions, diseases, infections and tumors. In mechanical causes such as spasms and muscle tension, the person experiences a problem in the way the spine moves or the way he feels when moving the spine in certain ways. A common mechanical cause of back pain is a condition known as inter-vertebral disc degeneration. In this condition, the inter-vertebral discs begin to breakdown with age and lose their cushioning ability.
Spinal injuries can also lead to short-term or chronic back pain. While injuries such as sprains result from improper twisting or lifting, vertebral fractures can be caused by weak and porous bones — a result of a medical condition called osteoporosis. Back pain may also result from medical problems such as scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It can also be caused by pregnancy, kidney stones and fibromyalgia.
Conditions such as osteomyelitis and discitis in which the vertebrae or the vertebral discs are affected by infection can also cause back pain. Another important cause of back ache is stress, which can cause the muscles of the back to become tense and painful.
Treatments For Back Pain
The main aim of back pain treatment is pain relief and restoration of normal movement. If the pain is due to stress or minor injury, then the treatment for relieving the pain is rest. Such patients may be given non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin to reduce their pain and inflammation. Physical therapy treatments including massage, ultrasound, controlled heat application and customized exercise programs can help you make restore normal back movements. One can further prevent back injury by learning the proper methods of exercising, stretching, lifting and maintaining a good posture.
For back pain which interferes with your daily routine, there are many over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen that are helpful. Your doctor may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medicines and muscle relaxants. As the main effect of these medicines is on the brain and not the muscles, they may lead to drowsiness in some patients. If back pain still persists, you will be referred to a back specialist doctor, who may use injections of steroids and anesthetics to help control the pain. Newer treatments such as radio frequency ablation, which involves the electrical stimulation of specific nerves to make them less sensitive to pain, may also be helpful in providing back pain relief.
Surgery may also be performed in patients suffering from non-specific back pain. Rhizotomy is surgical procedure which involves severing a nerve to stop the transmission of pain to the brain. It can be used in patients with pain caused by extreme nerve damage.
There are some other alternative methods of treating back pain. Acute low back pain can also be treated by chiropractors and osteopaths effectively. Acupuncture too may be used to get moderate to complete back pain relief.