Back pain is one of the common types of chronic pains among people all over the world. It is a very uncomfortable and debilitating type of problem. People of any age can have back pain. But as people get older, the chance of having back pain increases.
The human back is formed by a complex structure of muscles, ligaments, tendons, disks, and bones. All these work together to support the body, and allow us to move around. The segments of the spine are cushioned with cartilages that almost look like a pad. If any of these components face any issues that can lead to back pain. In some cases of back pain, its cause remains unclear.
Back pain can range from burning to stabbing sensation, and muscle aching. Additionally, the problem may diffuse down your leg or worsen with bending, twisting, lifting, standing, and walking.
Causes of Back Pain
Back pain can occur for various reasons, such as muscle or ligament strain, bulging or ruptured disks, arthritis, medical conditions, poor posture, etc.
Back pain commonly arises from strain, tension, or injuries. Some primary and common reasons of back pain are strained muscles or ligaments, muscle spasm, muscle tension, damaged disks, etc.
Reasons of strains or spasms include:
- Lifting something inappropriately.
- Lifting heavy goods.
- Moving very quickly and awkwardly.
Several structural issues may also be responsible for back pain.
- Ruptured disks: Disks cushion each vertebra in the spine. If a disk ruptures, you may feel more pressure on a nerve. That causes back pain.
- Bulging disks: It is almost the same as ruptured disks. A bulging disk also can result in more pressure on a nerve.
- Sciatica: A sharp and shooting pain driving through the buttock and down the back of the leg can be caused by a bulging or herniated disk pressing on a nerve. This may also lead to back pain.
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis can occur in the joints in the hips, lower back, and in other places. Sometimes, the space around the spinal cord narrows. This condition is called spinal stenosis.
- Abnormal curvature of the spine: If the spine curves are not normal, back pain can happen—for example, scoliosis.
- Osteoporosis: In this condition, bones, including the vertebrae of the spine, become breakable and porous. It makes compression fractures more frequently.
- Kidney problems: You may be astonished to hear that kidney stones or kidney infections can lead to back pain.
Movement and Posture
Back pain can also happen because of some everyday activities or poor posture.
Some of the examples are:
- Coughing or sneezing
- Muscle tension
- Bending stiffly or for a long time.
Some medical conditions can also cause long term back pain. These are:
Cauda equina syndrome: The cauda equina is a bundle of spinal nerve roots that appear from the lower end of the spinal cord. This condition’s symptoms are dull pain in the lower back and upper buttocks and numbness in the buttocks, genitalia, and thighs. Sometimes bowel and bladder function disturbances happen.
Cancer of the spine: A tumor on the spine may press against a nerve. That is one of the crucial reasons to create back pain.
Infection of the spine: A fever and a tender, warm area on the back, could cause back pain. Some other infections, such as Pelvic inflammatory disease, bladder, or kidney infections, may also lead to back pain.
Sleep disorders: People who have sleep disorders may feel back pain more likely than others.
Shingles: An infection in the nerves may be a cause of back pain. It mainly depends on which nerves are affected.
Common Treatments to Remove Long Term Back Pain
Usually, a doctor will treat back pain after asking about symptoms. They also prescribe some physical examinations to know more accurately about the problems.
An imaging scan and other tests are needed when:
- back pain happens because of an injury
- there may be some hidden cause that needs treatment
- the pain persists over a long time
An X-ray, MRI, or CT scan can provide information about the back’s soft tissues’ conditions.
- X-rays can show the bones’ alignment and detect signs of arthritis or broken bones, but they may not show damage in the muscles, spinal cord, nerves, or disks.
- MRI or CT scans detect the herniated disks or problems with tissue, tendons, nerves, ligaments, blood vessels, muscles, etc.
- Bone scans can identify bone tumors or compression fractures caused by osteoporosis. In this process, a radioactive substance or tracer is injected into a vein. The tracer collects in the bones and helps the doctor detect bone problems with a special camera aid.
- Electromyography or EMG measures the electrical impulses produced by nerves in response to muscles. This can confirm nerve compression, which may occur with a herniated disk or spinal stenosis.
Other types of diagnosis
A chiropractor will treat through touch, or palpation, and visual analysis. Chiropractic is a direct approach that focuses strongly on adjusting the spinal joints. Sometimes, a chiropractor also wants to check imaging scans and any blood and urine tests.
- Through palpation and visual inspection, an osteopath also treats. Osteopathy involves slow and rhythmic stretching, known as mobilization, pressure or indirect techniques, and manipulating joints and muscles.
- A physical therapist focuses on diagnosing issues in the joints and soft tissues of the body.
Light therapy is also a well-known treatment for back pain. Through the help of UV light, light therapy provides the treatment. It reduces pain and inflammation while promoting the body’s healing mechanisms and treating the source of pain.
Infrared light therapy works by painlessly penetrating the skin. This light provides a greater depth that can reach the site of pain, be it the muscles, nerves, and even bones.
Because of long term back pain, people suffer a lot. So whenever you feel pain in your back, you should consult with doctors as soon as possible. Otherwise, it can cause long term pain.