Lower back pain, also known as Lumbago is one of the most common medical problems experienced by more than 80% adults. Research shows that 8 out of 10 adults in their middle age experience back pain at some point in their life. Further, back pain accounts for more missed workdays than any other health disorder.
Brief introduction to back pain
A large number of people are affected by back pain at some point in their life. Various health ailments cause back pain of which a few include herniated disc, kidney stones, and premenstrual syndrome, among others. Those who work on computers for a long time develop back pain and other related health issues. Studies show that individuals between the age group 30 to 50 are most likely to develop chronic back pain. Age is one of the factors that cause back pain as with age, the bone density tends to decrease.
Causes and different types of back pain
In general, back pain can be classified into two types namely acute and chronic. Acute back pain lasts for about six weeks whereas chronic pain lasts for more than three months. Some of the common causes of back pain include
- Sitting for a long time
- Lifting heavy things
- Sleeping in an inappropriate position that does not support the spine
- Driving for long hours without break
These are some of the common reasons for frequent back pains, which can be cured through therapies and treatments. Given below are some of the different types of back pain
- Muscle strain is one of the common causes of back pain. Sudden movements or overexertion of the muscles results in strain. This will lead to swelling and thereby pain in the surrounding tissues and muscles.
- Slipped discs occur due to age and wear & tear of the muscles. In certain cases, the soft tissue surrounding the joints come out and cause excruciating pain in the hip and the lower back.
- Osteoporosis is most common in both men and women aged 30 to 50. In most cases, the bone becomes brittle and weak thereby leading to pain in the spine, hips, wrists, ankles, and other parts.
- Bulging/ruptured discs are characterized by protruding disc bones that press the surrounding nerves radiating pain throughout the lower part of the body, especially near the hips.
Being aware of the symptoms of back pain will help the individual take preventive measures to avoid further damage. Back pain can indicate a series of underlying problems, which may worsen as time goes by. It is always advisable to watch out for symptoms such as
- Muscle pain
- Tingling sensation
- Stabbing pain
- Pain that radiates from the hip to the feet
- Muscle spasms
- Stiff back
Back pain can trigger other related medical problems, which require immediate attention. You need to consult a doctor for the following symptoms
- Severe pain that does not reduce
- Unexplained weight loss
- Bladder problems
- Fever and numbness
Effective treatments for back pain
Doctors diagnose back pain through a series of tests that include X-rays, MRI scans, and bone scan, among others. Even though some pain are severe and takes a few months for healing, some get cured within a few weeks.
In general, mild back pain can be cured through over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. However, there are also other cases that require other types of treatments. Given below are some of the medications for back pain.
- Pain relievers: Most cases of back pain can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil, Aleve, Motrin IB, etc. Before taking any of the pain relievers, it is always advisable to consult a doctor. One must also keep in mind that overuse of pills that are not prescribed by the doctor will also lead to other complications.
- Muscle relaxants: They are used as an alternative for pain relievers. Doctors prescribe muscle relaxants for patients whose pain does not reduce even after taking painkillers.
- Antidepressants: Certain types of antidepressants are proved to offer relaxation for those suffering from mild to severe back pain. Amitriptyline in particular is one of the most commonly used anti-depressants to cure back pain.
There are also other types of alternative treatments and therapies that offer lasting relief from back pain. Given below are some of the common alternatives.
- Yoga: One of the alternative ways to cure back pain is through yoga. There are many asanas that help in healing back pain in an effective way. Patients suffering from severe back pain can try different relaxation and breathing techniques with help from yoga experts.
- Massage: More often people suffer from stiff and overworked muscles. Massaging will help in blood circulation and muscle relaxation.
- Ultrasound: Traditional methods of treatment may not be fruitful for certain cases of back pain. For such patients, doctors may advise ultrasound. The sound waves relax the muscles, thereby relieving pain and helping in fast healing.
- Acupuncture: This ancient Chinese treatment proves to be effective for back pain. In this treatment, the doctor inserts sterilized needles at different pressure points that help in reducing back pain.