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Back Pain - What Causes It?

Dr. Gururaj Sangondimath 86% (24 ratings)
Fellowship in spinal tumor surgery, Fellowship in Cervical spine surgery, FNB Spine Surgery, Fellowship in spinal deformity, fellowship in MInimalli invasive(Keyhole) surgery, CPC paliative care, MS-Orthopaedics, MBBS
Orthopedist, Howrah  •  15 years experience
Back Pain - What Causes It?

Pain in some part of your body is inevitable, as you age. Among them, back pain is the most common that many suffer from. With many young people taking to work related to computers that require long hours of sitting, back pain is becoming prevalent among young as well.

Pain in the lower back region may be related to the discs between the vertebrae, lumbar discs, spinal cord and nerves, ligaments around the spine, lower back muscles, and pelvic organs. As with any condition, knowing the early symptoms and following preventive measures can prevent you from complications.

What may lead to back pain?
The human back comprises of a complex structure of ligaments, muscles, tendons, bones, and discs, which are cartilaginous pads acting like cushions between the spinal segments. Any issues arising in any of these components can pave the way for back pain. Due to this complicated structure, the exact cause of back pain can never be found in some cases.

Some common causes of back pain include:

  • Strain and sprain
  • Ruptured discs
  • Bulging discs
  • Sciatica
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Abnormal curvature of the spine
  • Cauda equine syndrome
  • Spine cancer
  • Different types of infections

Risk Factors of Back Pain
Obesity and type 2 diabetes are significant factors leading to the development of the condition. Other risk factors include strenuous physical work, smoking, anxiety, and depression and a sedentary lifestyle.

Signs and Symptoms of Back Pain
The primary symptom of back pain is an ache or pain anywhere in the back, which can sometimes extend to the legs and buttocks. Sometimes, back pain is accompanied by other issues as well, such as unexplained weight loss, elevated body temperature, swelling of the back, constant back pain, urinary incontinence, numbness around the genitals and buttocks. If you experience one or more of these symptoms, you must see a doctor without further delay.

How is back pain diagnosed?
Most primary care physicians can diagnose back pain after a thorough physical examination of the patient and without imaging scans. But in case the doctor suspects a back injury, they may order some tests such as a computerized tomography or a magnetic resonance imaging.

Know the Treatment Options For Back Pain
In most cases, the back pain eventually vanishes without any medical intervention. Careful attention, diminishing the risk factors and certain home treatments are all that a patient needs to get rid of the pain. Applying a hot pack or a cold compress, along with taking over the counter medications is adequate for relieving pain. There are two variants of back pain- acute and chronic. In both these cases, medication, physical therapy, cortisone injections and cognitive behavioral therapy can aid in relieving the pain to a great extent. The patient may have to undergo surgery in case all these treatment options fail.

Thus, back pain, both chronic and acute, can be effectively managed with a combination of prescribed and alternative treatments, unless they are severe and need surgical intervention.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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