Back pain can be categorized into upper back pain, lower back pain or low back pain with sciatica and middle back pain. It can be a dull, constant ache or a sudden, sharp ache that makes it difficult to move. Anyone can have this problem, but some factors such as poor physical fitness, growing age, being overweight and nature of occupation increase the risk. There are many causes of back pain like disk breakdown, spasms, tense muscles, ruptured disks, etc. One should consult a doctor if there is numbness or tingling and severe pain that does not ease with rest. Types of back pain: 1) Acute pain 2) Chronic pain 3) Neuropathic pain
HOW IS BACK PAIN DIAGNOSED?
It is diagnosed by an orthopedic through: 1. Physical examination based on clinical picture 2. X Ray of the back 3. MRI
HOW IS BACK PAIN TREATED?
The main aim of treatment is to reduce the pain as soon as possible and restore the individual’s ability to carry out normal functions. Heat therapy is found to be useful in pain reduction. Short term use of muscle relaxants may provide relief for chronic back pains. Back massages and exercises are also beneficial in reducing pain and restoring spinal function. In case of back pain associated with lumbar disc degeneration and other diseases, surgery is the best treatment method.
DID YOU KNOW?
Homeopathy and Ayurveda can provide long term relief.
Back pain which affects most of the adult population may originate from the muscles, bones, joints, nerves or other structures in the spinal cord. Depending upon the region of occurrence, it is of the following types:
1. Cervical pain: Also called neck pain, it develops as a result of pressure exertion on the nerves emanating from the cervical vertebrae in the upper part of the spinal cord. Major causes of severe cervical pain include:
A. Head and neck cancer
B. Referred pain from acute coronary syndrome
C. Carotid artery dissection
D. Spinal disc herniation
G. Spinal stenosis or a narrowing of the spinal canal
The causes for less severe cervical pain are:
A. Physical and emotional stress.
B. Prolonged odd postures.
C. Pinched nerve
D. Herniated disc
E. Muscular strain
F. Referred pain from upper back problems
G. Minor injuries and falls.
2. Thoracic pain: It occurs in the middle back region as a result of muscular irritation, or may originate from spinal joints, ligaments, intervertebral discs etc. Factors causing thoracic injuries may include:
A. Poor posture.
B. Lack of strength.
C. Repetative motion causing injuries.
D. Trauma from sports injury.
E. A compression fracture of the vertebrae.
F. Spinal disc herniation.
G. Rib fracture.
H. Spinal tumours.
3. Lumbar or lower back pain: Low back pain involves the bones, muscles and nerves of the back. The following are a few of the factors causing lumber pain:
A. Disc degeneration.
C. Osteoporosis or broken vertebrae.
D. Tumour or an infection of the spine.
E. Spinal disc herniation.
Lower back pain may also assail pregnant women due to medical conditions like :
A. Uterine fibroids.
B. Ovarian cysts
C. Ovarian cancer
E. Muscle or ligament strain because of postural changes.
Sciatic pain also originates from the lower back when the sciatic nerve, beginning in the lumber region of the spine is exposed to compression or irritation. Sciatica usually indicates more serious conditions like degenerative disc disease, lumbar herniated disc, spondylolisthesis or spinal stenosis. Sciatic pain is typically characterized by the following:
A. Persistent pain in one side of the buttock or leg (rarely in both legs)
B. Burning, tingling or searing pain in the leg.
C. Pain that worsens when sitting
D. Difficulty in standing up and moving the leg, weakness or numbness in the foot and/or toes.
Cervical, thoracic and lumbar pains may all be caused by slipped herniated disc. It is a condition in which a vertebral disc in any part of the spinal cord changes position suddenly or is dislocated. Usually treated with a surgery, slipped disc causes:
A. pain and numbness on one side of the body
B. pain extending to the arms or legs
C. pain when walking short distances and unexplained muscle weakness
D. aching, burning or tingling sensation in the affected area
Back pain is usually treated with medication and surgery, in extreme cases. Temporary relief may be gained from hot compress, acupressure or back massage. In addition simple stretching exercises and yoga for back pain like bharadvajasana, ushtrasana, dhanurasana and setu bandha sarvangasana are quite effective. Physiotherapy is advised in advanced cases.
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