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Back pain

Back pain

Dr. Faozat Aragbaye
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Back pain includes lower back pain, middle back pain, upper back pain or low back pain with sciatica.

Causes

Back pain often develops without a cause. Conditions commonly linked to back pain include:

  • Muscle or ligament strain. Repeated heavy lifting or sudden awkward                              movement can strain back                                                 muscles and spinal ligaments
  • Bulging or ruptured disks. Disks act as    cushions between the bones in the                        spine. A bulging and ruptured disk can             exist without back pain
  • Arthritis. Osteoarthritis can affect lower back. In some cases, arthritis of    the spine can lead to narrowing of the              space around the spinal cord.
  • Skeletal irregularities. A condition in which the spine curves to a side                                (scoliosis) can lead to back pain, but                              generally not until middle age.
  • Osteoporosis.

                The spine’s vertebrae can develop                          compression fractures when the                              bones become porous and brittle.

Risk Factors

Anyone can develop back pain, even children and teens. The risk factors include:

  • Age, backache is more common among adults, starting from age 30 or 40
  • Lack of exercise. Weak, unused muscles in the back and abdomen                           might lead to back.
  • Excess weight. Excess body weight puts extra stress on the back
  • Diseases. Some types of arthritis and cancer can contribute to back pain
  • Improper lifting. Using the back instead of the legs can lead to back pain
  • Psychological conditions. People prone to depression and anxiety tend   to have greater risk of back pain
  • Smoking. This reduces blood flow to the lower spine, thus preventing the      lower disc from getting nutrients                                 from the body.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of back pain can include:

  • Muscle ache
  • Shooting or stabbing pain
  • Pain that radiates from the leg
  • Pain that worsens with bending, lifting, standing or walking
  • Pain that improves with reclining

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of a back can be made from medical history, symptoms and physical examination.

Other tests such as, X-ray; MRI or CT scan may be required if;

  • Back pain appears to result from injury
  • there may be underlying cause that needs treatment
  • the pain persists over a long period

Treatment

Many individuals will not need extensive treatment for back pain. Over- the- counter pain medications are often sufficient.

In more severe cases, stronger treatments may be necessary, but the patients are closely monitored.

Medication

The majority of the back pain episodes are relieved by treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as: ibuprofen; naproxen etc.

Pain relievers or analgesics, such as acetaminophen, are also an option, though they don’t have the anti-inflammatory properties.

Other medications include:

Topical rubs and ointments.

 These may be highly effective at reducing back pain. Many of these contain ingredients like ibuprofen and lidocaine.

Opioids

Opioids are stronger pain medication that can be used for more severe pain.

Muscle relaxants

Muscle relaxants can also be used for low back pain, especially if muscle spasm is occurring alongside pain.

Antidepressants

Antidepressants and other medications can sometimes be used off label for the treatment of back pain.

Steroid injections

For severe pain, steroid injections may also be recommended.

Surgery

Surgery is the last resort treatment and is rarely done for back pain.

Prevention

These tips can help in easing back pain or prevent it in the first place. These include:

  • Carry less -heavy briefcases, laptop bags, suitcases and purses that can                         add unnecessary stress and strains on       the neck and spine
  • Work your core- strengthening the muscles in around the abdomen can       reduce chances of pain, strain or                               damage to the back
  • Improve your posture- regularly roll          back rounded shoulders and      sit upright on the chair
  • Change shoes- high- heeled shoes are likely to cause damage to the back if                       worn frequently. One inch is a                          maximum height suggestion

Stretch often-stretch regularly to help improve circulation in the fatigued muscles.

Owena Press Limited (Publisher of The Hope Newspaper), Akure

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