Back pain is the pain felt in the back area. The duration of the pain determines where the back pain episode is acute, sub-acute, or chronic. The pain sensation may be accompanied by tingling, weakness, or numbness in the legs and arms.
According to NHS, back pain is viewed as a usual problem that affects people’s way of live at some point in their life. The publication added that most cases of back pain are not triggered by serious damage or disease; it is caused by injuries, minor sprains or strains, or a compressed or exasperated nerve. Back pain may also result from improper posture while sitting, standing, bending, or lifting. Slouching in chairs, overstretching, twisting improperly, driving or sitting in a hunched position for long period of time, and overusing the muscles (during sport or repetitive movement) also lead to back pain.
There are several risk factors for back pain. According to Spine-Health, aging is one risk factor. The publication mentioned that wear and tear on the spine over time or from conditions like disc degeneration or spinal stenosis may produce neck or back pain. Even genetics has a role to play in the development of back pain. Some types of spinal disorders like degenerative disc disease have a genetic element.
People who have work that needs repetitive or prolonged bending and lifting are also threatened to having back pain. They include nurses, construction workers, barbers, and software developers. Pregnant women are also at risk for back pain, specifically in the lumbar area. They suffer from back pain, as they bear the extra body weight in front of the body, not to mention that the ligaments in the pelvic region loosen as their bodies prepare for delivery. In addition, people who are overweight or obese may also suffer from backache, due to the excess weight that puts pressure on the lower back and the other joints.
Smoking and sedentary lifestyle are also risk factors for having backache. A study conducted by researchers in John Hopkins University found out that history of smoking, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease, were strongly linked with the development of lower back pain. Meanwhile, sedentary lifestyle entails lack of exercise, which elevates the risk of having lower back pain and also increases the severity of the pain.
Home treatments can be done to alleviate back pain. According to Web MD, normal or near normal activities can be done as soon as possible. However, activities that put strain on the back, such as stretching, should not be performed. In addition, a small pillow can be placed between the knees (while lying on a single side) during sleeping can also be done to boost comfort. Nonetheless, some physicians suggest lying on the back with a pillow under the knees.
Physical therapy or physiotherapy can also be performed to reduce pain on the back area. According to Medical News Today, ice, heat, electrical stimulation, as well as certain muscle-release techniques can be applied to the back muscles and soft tissues to alleviate pain. The publication added that the physical therapist may also execute flexibility and strength exercises for the back and abdominal muscles, in addition to some techniques on improving one’s posture. While the pain has subsided, the individual is encouraged to regularly do the technique to prevent back pain from recurring.
There is also a pharmacological approach when it comes to relieving backache. According to Web MD, non-prescription medications may alleviate back pain. Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen are known for the acute treatment of lower back pain; however, one should also consult a doctor, since the medications may trigger ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding. As per Web MD, topical agents like deep heating rubs have not shown evidence on relieving back pain.
With the aforementioned ways to relieve back pain, one will be able to experience a more comfortable, pain-free, and stress-free life.