Home » Health Conditions A-Z » Back Pain

Back Pain

What is Back Pain?

It is simple, back pain is felt in the back usually from muscles, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, disk in the spine that have rupture. Back pain can result from any of these problems, but in some people there is no specific cause of pain. It is the second cause of the most missed days of work and one the most common reasons for visiting a doctor. Most back pain will resolve itself in a couple months, but it is still one of the most treated health care issues.

Symptoms of Back Pain

There are several symptoms of backpain and the may include:

  • Muscle aches or spasms.
  • Localized pain in neck, upper back, or lower back.
  • Pain worsens at night or sitting for too long in a single position.
  • Pain worsens with prolong activity.
  • Pain that radiates down your leg.
  • Limited flexibility or range of motion of your back.
  • Inability to stand straight.

What Causes Back Pain?

Back pain most commonly occurs from strained muscles and ligaments, and can result from lifting heavy objects improperly. Also, muscle spasms can cause pains in the back as well as awkward movement. A ruptured disk or a herniated disk, which acts as a cushion between the spine and the vertebrae, could cause further, back pain. If this happens, back pain is a possible result as a result of there being added pressure on the nerve.

Back pain can be caused by other problems with the body such as anomalies in the chest region, organs, stomach, and hips. The anomalies that cause pain to the back are called referred pain. The most common of these issues are: kidney infection, bladder infections, pelvic infections, ovarian disorder, appendicitis, and normal pregnancy.

Another possible cause is osteoporosis. This is a disease where bones become brittle and porous. This disease is a cause for back pain as it creates a compression fracture of the spines vertebrae creating back pain. Arthritis could be a cause as one of the most common areas affected by the disease is the lower back.

A curved spine this is known as scoliosis in which the spine is curved to the side can cause back pain. Another disease that can cause problems is fibromyalgia, which is widespread pain, and tenderness that goes throughout the body resulting in muscle aches, fatigue and stiffness.

Though rare, other diseases that could contribute to back pains would be a tumor on the spine that would press on a nerve. If one were to have and infection of the spine, and though rare, the neurological problem referred to as cauda equine syndrome which is an issue that affects a bundle of nerve root that are connected to the lower and back and legs.

Diagnosis of Back Pain

Since back pain varies from individual to individual and can be caused by the a wide ranges of issues, a doctor will ask a variety of questions involving recent health issues. But first, the doctor will complete an examination of your back to see if you have the capability of sitting, standing, walking, and the ability to lift your legs, along with checking your reflexes. These tests help the doctor to assess where the pain could possibly come from and rule out the most serious causes of back pain. Imaging tests are used to look inside to detect the absence or presence of disease. Nerve tests are used to check the electrical activity to predict the level of nerve root damage. This allows doctors to distinguish between muscle and nerve root diseases. Blood tests are used to see if there is inflammation present in the body.

Treatment of Back Pain

The most common treatment of back pain is to return to normal activity as soon as possible forgoing those activities that place strain on the back. A couple days of bed rest can help, but it can cause more harm than good. Ibuprofen is a short-term medicine that helps with inflammation. Besides ibuprofen, other over the counter medications doctors might prescribe muscle relaxers. Due to varying degrees of conflicting evidence, there is no one treatment that can be recommended as a cure all.

How to Prevent Back Pain

Better physical conditioning along with understanding proper body mechanics can help one prevent back pains. Exercise can help to increase ones endurance and allow the muscles to function at a higher efficiency level. Maintaining a healthy weight can also prevent back pains, as well as building muscles in the abdomen and back. This allows for the muscles to work together forming a network that holds the back firm.

 

References:

  • http://www.emedicinehealth.com/back_pain/article_em.htm
  • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/back-pain/DS00171
  • http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/guide/back-pain-overview-facts