Back pains are among the top reasons people go see their doctor and miss work. They’re incredibly common; around 70% of adults experience back pain at some point in their lives . The pain can range from mild to severe.
Watch out for these seven signs of back pain
1. Dull pain: Dull or throbbing pain may start in the lower back and can be accompanied by muscle spasms. This kind of pain could extend into your pelvis and hips.
2. Traveling pain: If you notice a sharp or stinging pain that moves down your legs and into your feet, it could be a sign of sciatica. Pain of the sciatic nerve is usually felt on only one side of the body.
3. Tingling or numbing pain: Sometimes aching in the back may feel like a tingle or a numbness that extends into the legs.
4. Shooting or stabbing pain: This type of back pain may feel particularly uncomfortable but usually comes on in short bursts.
5. Muscle spasms: You may also notice a tightness in your hip and pelvis muscles.
6. Pain after sitting: Because sitting puts pressure on the spinal discs, it can cause back problems when you sit for a long time.
7. Pain in the morning: Some people will notice a painful back when they step out of bed. This is usually due to stiffness and should go away once you move around for a bit. Your mattress, sleeping position, and pillows could also be causing your back pains.
It’s important to see a doctor right away if you notice any of the following:
Six common causes for back pain:
1. Muscle strain or sprains
When you stretch a muscle too far it can tear and cause a strain. Sprains usually affect the ligament. Strains and sprains are incredibly common types of acute back injury and they usually cause severe pain in the back. Frequent causes of sprains and strains are:
Spinal osteoarthritis is very common and effects about 40-85% of people worldwide . In particular, it afflicts older people. It occurs when the cartilage of the joints and discs break down. Osteoarthritis can be caused by injury or trauma and is more frequent in people who are overweight.
What treatments are available?
The treatment depends on the duration and severity of the pain. Back pain can range from mild to severe. It can last a few hours or months.
Self-care for back aches.
It’s important to contact your doctor if you are experiencing pain. If your back pain is caused by a mild strain or sprain, there are a few self-care options to help you diminish the aching.
Rest and avoid strenuous activities
When you hurt your back, it’s important that you take a break and avoid all strenuous activity until you feel better. Otherwise, you could hinder your back from healing quickly. If you tend to sit or stand for long periods of time and it’s making your pain worse, you should take a break. Modify your daily activities according to your level of pain.
Pain relievers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen are available to purchase over-the-counter and can help temporarily manage your symptoms
Apply heat or ice
A hot bath, heat wraps or pads help to relax the muscles and improve blood flow to them. The increased blood flow ensures that more oxygen and nutrients are carried to the muscle and this speeds up the healing process. When the back pain is due to inflammation, apply an ice pack instead to bring down any swelling. Heat and cold packs can be used interchangeably and alongside Panadol Extra or other pain medications.
Managing persistent back pain
If you are experiencing back pain, be sure to discuss it with your doctor. They can diagnose your condition and recommend treatment. There are a number of non-pharmacological management methods.
Exercises for back pain
Because your muscles support the weight of your body, it’s important to keep them strong. If back pain lasts longer than a few days, consult your doctor. It can be good idea to practice a few prescribed stretching exercises. After an injury, you’ll want to start gently and slowly build up to avoid stretches or aerobic exercises that might trigger flare-ups or cause more damage to your back.
Back pain that’s due to muscle spasms can be relieved via massage therapy. A massage can increase blood flow to the affected areas and speed up recovery.