Back pain is a very common physical discomfort that affects nearly everyone at some point in their lifetime. It is not always followed with excruciating pain but can be discomforting and sometimes slightly painful.
As a matter of fact it can be caused by a simple strain to a muscle or ligament. More often than none, back pain doesn’t have one simple or specific cause but may occur as a result of bad or poor posture or a lack of exercise and physical fitness.
As we grow older, joint movement becomes stiffer and less flexible because the amount of lubricating fluid inside our joints decreases and the cartilage becomes thinner. Ligaments also tend to shorten and lose some flexibility, making joints feel stiff which could contribute to extreme fatigue and back pains.
Common Conditions That Could Cause Backpain
The following medical conditions have been linked with back pain;
This refers to degenerative changes in the spine caused by aging. The bones, discs and ligaments in the spine can naturally weaken as we get older. This happens to almost everyone to some degree as part of the ageing process, however, for some, the discs in the spine become thinner and the spaces between the vertebrae become narrower. This is especially so for folks already diagnosed with osteoarthritis.
Sciatica refers to a nerve pain from an injury or irritation to the sciatic nerve (The longest and thickest nerve in the body), which originates in your buttock. The sciatic nerve is made up of five nerve roots: two form the lower back region called the lumbar spine and three others form the final section of the spine called the sacrum.
People with Sciatica may experience mild to severe pain anywhere along the path of the sciatic nerve i.e anywhere from the lower back, through the hips, buttocks and/or down your legs. It can also cause muscle weakness in your leg and foot, numbness in your leg, and an unpleasant tingling pins-and-needles sensation in your leg, foot and toes.
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spaces within your spine, specifically, narrowing of the canal that holds the spinal cord and it's surrounding fluid filled sac which can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. Spinal stenosis occurs most often in the lower back and the neck.
Symptoms often affect both legs, but one may be worse than the other. The pain usually gets better when you sit down and rest, and some people find they have less pain if they walk a little. In most cases, neither sciatica nor spinal stenosis are serious problems.
Other causes of back pain can include:
- Bone related issues such as a fracture(often linked to thinning of the bones, also known as osteoporosis)
- An infection
- A tumor
- Bad posture
- Pushing, pulling, lifting, or carrying heavy materials
- Long driving or sitting sessions without a break
- Bending awkwardly or for long periods
You should see your doctor if your pain;
- Becomes really intense
- Lasts for a long time
- Stops you from carrying on with normal activities or doing the things you enjoy
You may not need to take any medications or special treatments to recover from a back pain as it goes on its own most of the time. However, in severe cases, taking painkillers such as ibuprofen, paracetamol or diclofenac may help to ease discomfort.
Below are some other ways to get rid of your back pain;
Maintain Good Posture
This helps ease the pressure on your lower back. You can use tape, straps, or stretchy bands to help keep your spine in alignment. Don’t slouch your shoulders and sit up with your chest forward. If you work daily and sit at a desk all day, get up, stretch and walk regularly.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Excessive weight gain is just extra load on your lower back. Weight loss has been said to reduce the amount of mechanical force placed on the spine.
Nerve Stimulation Therapy can also provide long-term relief for chronic back pain which may not respond to other treatments, including spinal cord stimulation.