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. It can be uncomfortable and debilitating.
Back pain can affect people of any age, for different reasons. As people get older, the chance of developing lower back pain increases, due to factors such as previous occupation and degenerative disk disease.
Lower back pain may be linked to the bony lumbar spine, discs between the vertebrae, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, lower back muscles, abdominal and pelvic internal organs, and the skin around the lumbar area.
Symptom and Red Flags of Back Pain
Back pain symptoms can range from muscle aches to shooting, burning or stabbing sensation. Some back pains may present as pain in other parts of the body, depending on the nerves affected.
Most back pain gradually improves with home treatment and self-care, usually within a few weeks. You should see your doctor if your back pain:-
- Persists past a few weeks
- Is severe and doesn’t improve with rest
- Spreads down one or both legs, especially if the pain extends below the knee
- Causes weakness, numbness or tingling in one or both legs
- Is accompanied by unexplained weight loss
- Fecal incontinence, or loss of control over bowel movements
What are the causes of Low Back Pain
They are many conditions linked to back pain. This include:-
- Muscle or Ligament Strain
- Bulging or Ruptured Disks
- Osteoporotic Fractures
- Kidney problems
- Older Age
- Lack of Exercise
- Obesity and excess weight
- Strenuous physical exercise or laborious work
- Medical conditions like arthritis and cancer
Lower back pain tends to be more common in women than in me, possibly due to hormonal factors. Stress, anxiety and mood disorders have been associated with back pain as well.
How to diagnose the cause of the Back Pain?
Your doctor will examine your back and assess your ability to sit, stand, walk and lift your legs.
If there is reason to suspect that a specific condition is causing your back pain, your doctor might order one or more tests:
- X-rays to rule out a fracture
- MRI or CT scans to look for any herniated disk
- Blood Test to look for signs of infection
- Bone Scan to rule out any compression fractures
Treatments of Back pain
Back pain can be treated conservatively or by surgical methods. The conservative method includes:
- Using over-the-counter medicines, like paracetamol for the pain
- Prescription medications like:-
- NSAIDS (Non- steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) and
- COX -2 inhibitors ( eg. Arcoxia and Celebrex)
- Antidepressants ( eg. Tricyclic Antidepressants)
- Epidural Steroid Injections
- Implanted Nerve Stimulators
Surgery is usually reserved for pain due to structural issues like impingement from a herniated disc or narrowing of the spine that is compressing on the cord or nerves
Strategies to alleviate the Symptoms
- Limit use and rest the back from activities that worsen symptoms.
- Splints or braces may be ordered to decrease stress on the injured tissues.
- Apply ice packs on the back to reduce swelling
- Avoid activities that bring on the symptoms and increase stress on the back, like carrying of heavy loads
- Physical therapy may be ordered for strengthening the core muscles and stretching exercises
If you are facing any back pain issue that you wish to resolve, please do not hesitate to contact our team at Spire Orthopaedics. Book a consultation session with us if you have any questions for our Doctor