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About 80 percent of people all across the globe experience lower back pain at some stage in their lives. It is one of the most common reasons why people miss their work and appoint a physiotherapist. But lower back pain is an ailment that can be avoided with proper knowledge and some back exercises. In case your lower back pain is not under control and you have been neglecting it, you are susceptible to acute pain, sciatica, nerve pain and pain in other regions caused from a pinched nerve. Long-term pain in the back portion can lead to permanent ailments like degenerative disc disease or spinal stenosis.
Probable causes of lower back pain: Severe pain in the lower back region can be caused due to a herniated disc, back muscle pain, ligament strain or any other non-specific pain. An individual may also suffer from lower back pain due to systemic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia or ankylosing spondylitis. Though these causes are very common in most people suffering from lower-back pain, the diagnosis varies from person to person and to ensure the best care to alleviate the pain, you must consult a responsive musculoskeletal physiotherapist.
Stages for assessing and treating lower back pain: Managing the back pain is the primary objective of physiotherapy. In reality, back pain is the final symptom that is developed and the first thing that must be addressed.
- Stage I: Back pain relief: The physiotherapist is going to use different types of tools and items to help the pain subside along with the inflammation. These include electrotherapy, acupuncture, ice application, soft-tissue massage and deloading taping techniques. Sometimes the physiotherapist may also recommend an anti-inflammatory drug if the pain is intolerable.
- Stage II: Restoring normal strength: With the settling of pain and inflammation, you are more susceptible to injury because though your pain has subsided, your ligaments and muscles are weak. Your doctor will aim at restoring normal motion of lumbar spine, muscle endurance and strength, proprioception, balance and walking abilities.
- Stage III: Restoring full body function: Depending on your daily chores and activity, your physiotherapist will aim at restoring the function of your back portion to keep you safe while performing the chosen activities. For some, it may be taking a slow walk around the park while for others it may mean taking part in some sports activity.
- Stage IV: Preventing recurrence: Your physiotherapist will rehabilitate you to prevent further occurrence of this excruciating pain by suggesting proper postures, exercise and core muscle workout.
Each of these stages are important to help you get rid of severe back pain and with daily exercise, you can regulate your body and spare yourself from recurrence of this lower back pain.
Ow! My aching back! Most of us have stuttered these words at one time or another. Worldwide back pain affects 4 out of 5 people at some point in life. It is one of the top ten high burden diseases and is largely responsible for decreased quality of life and disability in young adults.
Back Pain Symptoms
Back pain can range from a dull nagging ache to sudden debilitating pain. It can affect anyone at any age, but becomes more common as you grow older. People, who are overweight, lead a sedentary lifestyle, under extreme psychological stress and smokers have been found to be at a higher risk for back pain. Some of the common symptoms that occur with back pain include stiffness, trouble flexing your back, difficulty with range of motion, sharp shooting pain, pain radiating down the legs and numbness in the legs or groin.
Back pain that develops abruptly, often after some activity, is known as acute pain. If your pain lasts for more than three months, it is known as chronic pain. Most causes of acute back pain are related to the muscles and/or ligaments, widely known as strains. Back strains usually result from activities such as heavy lifting, overuse, abrupt movement and poor postures. Chronic pains may be associated with infections, trauma, spinal deformities and problems with the discs, nerves and bones.
Understanding the root cause of your back pain is key to preventing it from worsening or recurring. A better resolution of this problem can be achieved when you learn more and start identifying the factors that trigger your pain.
10 Tips to Beat Back Pain
Most episodes of back pain resolve within a few days on its own. Sadly, for some people it can return and can be the most frustrating and bothersome problem to manage. Here are few tips that you can try to minimise your discomfort and prevent the back pain from becoming a long-term issue.
- Ice the area – Keep ice on the area for the first one or two days. Ice helps slow down inflammation that occurs after an injury. You may switch to heat after two days. Do not place heat or ice directly on your skin and do not keep it for more than 20 minutes at a time.
- Be active – Continue your normal activities such as walking and mild exercises, but don’t overdo it. Avoid sitting at a place for more than half an hour, get up and do some mild stretching.
- Make your workstation ergonomic – Use chairs that have proper back support. Avoid hunching forward often and keep both your feet firmly planted on the floor.
- Maintain good posture – Avoid stooping or bending over from your waist when lifting heavy objects. Lift with bent knees.
- Wear footwear with low heels – High heels threaten good posture and put more pressure on the lower spine.
- De-stress – Anxiety, stress and depression can worsen back pain. Engage in activities that keep you happy.
- Get enough sleep – Inadequate sleep can aggravate your back pain. Sleep plays a major role in healing your body and mind. Sleep on a mattress that provides good back support. Keep a pillow between your knees if sleeping on your sides. If sleeping on your back, keep a pillow under your knees. These measures help maintain neutral spine position.
- Quit smoking – Smokers are at a greater risk of developing bone problems that worsen back discomfort.
- Exercise – Once your back pain has subsided, perform exercises to strengthen your back muscles.
- Shed some weight – Being overweight can put excess pressure on your spine. Losing weight can help relieve your back pain.
There is often no single solution for back pain. You may need to explore and find out what works best for you, which often involves a process of trial and error.
It is advised that you consult a qualified doctor if your back pain does not subside within 72 hours. Depending on your type of back pain, your doctor may recommend blood tests and/or imaging studies to identify the root cause of your pain. Depending on your specific condition, treatment options can include oral medications, injections or surgery. You may also choose complementary therapies such as exercises, massage, yoga, biofeedback, acupuncture, physiotherapy and chiropractic treatments that may offer some relief.