Ways to Prevent Back Pain

Back pain is extremely common.

In fact, most have had experienced it at one point in their lives or another.

Back pain can be triggered by bad posture (while standing or sitting), lifting objects incorrectly, and awkward bending.

In some cases, pain in the back eventually disappears after a few weeks. However, in some instances, back pain will linger for months.

In the latter case, visiting a back pain specialist is recommended.

Likely Causes

  • The back is a complex structure.
  • It is made up of nerves, bones, muscles, and joints.
  • The complexity of the back’s structure will often make it challenging to accurately pinpoint the exact cause of the pain.
  • In most cases, back pain is not caused by anything serious. Oftentimes, it is the result of injuries, strains, minor sprains, or an irritated or pinched nerve.

Back pains of these type can develop over time or can be triggered by routine activities at work or at home.

Some of the likely causes of back pain includes:

  • Long periods of awkward bending
  • Pushing, lifting, carrying, and pulling of heavy objects
  • Awkward twisting
  • Overstretching
  • Sitting (or driving) in a hunched position for long periods
  • Overusing the muscles (while engaging in sports)
Risk Factors

Certain factors can increase one’s chance of developing back pain.
Some of these factors are:
  • Obesity – extra weight can put pressure on the spine and may result to back pain.
  • Pregnancy – the extra weight (of the baby) can put additional stress and strain on the back.
  • Smoking – tissue damage in the back secondary to smoking may cause back pain.
In some cases, symptoms may suggest that back pain can be attributed to a specific medical condition.
For instance:
  • Arthritis – joint (and back pain) when walking and stiffness experienced in the mornings are often symptoms of the condition.
  • Sciatica or prolapsed or slipped disc – pain in the back (with numbness), pain, and a tingling sensation (that may travel down one leg) may be an indicator of the aforementioned conditions.
  • Frozen shoulder – stiffness and shoulder pain (making driving, sleeping, and dressing difficult) may be a symptom of frozen shoulder.
  • Whiplash – stiffness, neck pain, back pain, and headache may be a symptom of whiplash.
While paracetamol is often the first resort for back pain, some find nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) more effective. In some cases, codeine (a stronger painkiller) is prescribed.

If the back pain does not respond to OTC medications, your doctor may prescribe something stronger. A short course of diazepam (muscle relaxant) may also be given in case there are muscle spasms.

Exercise and Lifestyle
If the back pain is chronic (lasting for more than 6 weeks), a back pain specialist will likely recommend the following:
  • Manual therapy – therapies include mobilization, massage, and manipulation carried out by osteopaths, physiotherapists, and chiropractors.
  • Exercise classes – this includes aerobic, stretching, and other exercises that help improve posture and strengthen the muscles.
Surgery for back pain is only resorted to when all other treatments have proved futile or when the pain has become so severe that sleeping or carrying out daily activities has become impossible.

Surgery that will be carried out will depend on the cause and the type of back pain.

Two likely procedures that will be carried out are:
  • Spinal fusion – two (or more) vertebrae will be joined together with a section of the bone. This is done to minimize pain and stabilize the spine.
  • Discectomy – a part of the disc will be removed. This is carried out to prevent it from pressing on the nerves nearby.
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About Dhanur Chauhan

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