What is Back pain?
Pain felt in the back that usually originates from the muscles, nerves, bones, joints or other structures in the spine. Back pain is one of humanity’s most frequent complaints. Back pain is not a specific disease; rather it is a symptom that may occur from a variety of different processes.
- Causes for Back Pain:
The spine is a complex interconnecting network of nerves, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments, and all are capable of producing pain. Large nerves that originate in the spine and go to the legs and arms can make pain radiate to the extremities. In up to 85% of people with low back pain, despite a thorough medical examination, no specific cause of the pain exists.
- About 80 per cent of people suffer from back pain some time in their life and it is due to poor posture, prolonged sitting at desk and lack of exercise which are mostly works related problems. Abdominal organ disease (kidney failure), bone related problems (Trauma & Osteoporosis), joint degenerative (Ankylosing spondylosis) and infective diseases (Tuberculosis) of back are the remaining causes for the back pain.
- Characteristics of Back Pain:
The pain can often be divided into upper back pain, and lower back pain. It may have a sudden onset or can be a chronic pain; it can be constant or intermittent, limited to one place or radiate to other areas. It may be a dull ache, or a sharp or piercing or burning sensation. The pain may include symptoms other than pain, such as weakness, numbness or tingling.
- Back pain usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks. However, in severe and persistent cases of back pain, it is important to seek medical advice so that a correct diagnosis can be reached and appropriate treatment given. Treatment for back pain will usually depend on the underlying cause of the condition.
- Aggravating factors for Back Pain:
- bending awkwardly
- lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling incorrectly
- standing or bending down for long periods
- coughing, sneezing
- muscle tension, over-stretching
- slouching in chairs or driving in hunched positions
- driving for long periods without taking a break
Back pain can also be triggered by everyday activities at home or work, and by poor posture. For example, back pain may be triggered by:
- Tips for Back Pain Prevention:
- Avoid lifting objects that are too heavy. While bending down to lift anything, make sure to bend your knees and not your waist.
- Take care of your posture every time of the day, especially while sitting, standing, and sleeping.
- While sitting, keep your back straight. Use some kind of comfortable support for your back, especially its lower region when in a sitting position. This should be taken care of while driving as well.
- Don’t sit in the same pose for a long period of time. Specifically while working on the computer, change your position at regular intervals.
- Don’t be lazy. Exercise daily and walk around on a regular basis.
- However, do not work out too much. Take specific caution with exercises that your body is not used to.
- Wear footwear that is comfortable. Ladies, please avoid wearing heels that are way too high as they have an undesirable effect on your feet and back.
Back pain is one of the most familiar ailments today. Majority of cases of pain in the back will heal and respond to proper identification, prompt treatment and staying active and continuing with usual activities will normally promote healing. One must not evade consulting a doctor for acute or persistent pain, or in case of injuries and accidents. However, in certain situations, prevention is certainly better than cure. Here are a few tips for back pain prevention:
- Do’s and Dont’s with Low Back Pain
- Sit as little as possible and then only for short periods.
- Place a supportive towel roll at the belt line of the back especially when sitting in a car.
- When getting up from sitting, keep the normal curves in your back. Move to the front of the seat and stand up by straightening your legs. Avoid bending forward at the waist.
- Try to keep the normal curves in your back at all times
- Sit on a low soft couch with a deep seat. It will force you to sit with your hips lower than your knees and will round your back. You will loose the normal curve in your back.
- Face your legs straight out in front of you while sitting. (e.g. sitting in the bath tub).
- If you must stand for a long period of time, keep one leg up on a foot stool.
- Adapt work heights.
- Avoid half bent positions
- Avoid lifting altogether if you can
- Use the correct lifting technique
- Keep your back straight when lifting
- Never stoop or bend forward
- Stand close to the load, have a firm footing and wide stance
- Kneel on one knee, keeping the back straight
- Have a secure grip on the load and lift by straightening your knees
- Do a steady lift and do not jerk
- Shift your feet to turn and do not twist your back.
- Sleep on a good firm surface
- If your bed sags, use slats or plywood supports between the mattress and base to firm it. You also can place the mattress on the floor, a simple but temporary solution
- You may be more comfortable at night when you use a supportive roll. A rolled up towel behind your waist is usually helpful
- Sleep on your stomach
- Bending Forward
- Keep the natural curves of your
back by kneeling. (e.g. when making a bed, vacuuming, cleaning the floor or
weeding the garden)
- Driving a Car
- Drive the car as little as possible. It is better to be a passenger than to drive yourself
- Move the seat forward to the steering wheel
- Your seat must be close enough to the wheel to keep the natural curves of your back
- If your hips are lower than your knees in this position, raise yourself by sitting on a pillow.
Further with these also you don’t find relief kindly contact us at Department of Physical Therapy, GMCH & RC.
Ms. Ranjeetha Prahalad
GMCH& RC, Ajman