Back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work, and it is a leading cause of disability worldwide.
Fortunately, you can take measures to prevent or relieve most back pain episodes. If prevention fails, simple home treatment and proper body mechanics often will heal your back within a few weeks and keep it functional. Surgery is rarely needed to treat back pain.
Causes of back pain
Causes of back pain can be hard to pinpoint, however some common causes of back pain are:
- Muscle or ligament strain: repeated heavy lifting or a surprise awkward movement can strain back muscles and spinal ligaments. If you are in poor physical condition, constant strain on your back can cause a painful muscle spasm.
- Disk problems: These include ruptured and bulging disks that increase pressure on nerves leading to back pain.
- Arthritis. Osteoarthritis can affect the lower back. In some cases, arthritis in the spine can lead to a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord, a condition called spinal stenosis.
- Abnormal spinal curve: Unusual spinal curvature like scoliosis where the spine is curved sideways can result in back pain.
- You might avoid the pain by improving your physical condition and learning and practicing proper body mechanics.
- Exercise: Regular low-impact aerobics activities — those that don’t strain or jolt your back — can increase strength and endurance in your back and allow your muscles to function better. Walking and swimming are good choices. Talk with your doctor about which activities you might try.
- Build muscle strength and flexibility: Abdominal and back muscle exercises, which strengthen your core, help condition these muscles so that they work together like a natural corset for your back.
- Stand smart: Don’t slouch. Maintain a neutral pelvic position. If you must stand for long periods, place one foot on a low footstool to take some of the load off your lower back. Alternate feet. Good posture can reduce the stress on back muscles.
- Sit smart: Choose a seat with good lower back support, armrests and a swivel base. Placing a pillow or rolled towel in the small of your back can maintain its normal curve. Keep your knees and hips level. Change your position frequently, at least every half-hour.
- Lift smart: Avoid heavy lifting, if possible, but if you must lift something heavy, let your legs do the work. Keep your back straight — no twisting — and bend only at the knees. Hold the load close to your body. Find a lifting partner if the object is heavy or awkward.
Back pain treatment
- Physical Therapy: Exercise is the foundation of chronic back pain treatment. It’s one of the first treatments you should try under the guidance of your physician and spine physical therapist. However, the same set of exercises doesn’t work for everyone, says Nava. The exercises have to be tailored to your specific symptoms and condition. Maintaining the exercise routine at home is also a big part of success.
- Diet: Some diets are highly inflammatory, especially those high in trans fats, refined sugars and processed foods. Consult with your doctor to see if your diet could be contributing to your chronic back pain and how you could change it. Maintaining a healthy weight could also help lessen your back pain by reducing the pressure on your spine.
- Alternative treatments: Acupuncture, massage, biofeedback therapy, laser therapy, electrical nerve stimulation and other nonsurgical spine treatments can also make a difference for chronic back pain. Talk to your spine specialist about alternative treatments that could benefit you.
- Home Treatment: Over the counter pain relievers that have no steroids like ibuprofen can offer relief. You can also reduce pain by placing an ice pack or compressing the painful area with hot water.
Back pain can be frustrating, depressive, and irritable. It is important to identify the root cause of back pain. You can relieve back pain naturally by making required lifestyle modifications or get medical treatment. In rare cases, you might need to have surgery done.
Related Article : What Should I Eat to Feel Less Tired