What is Back Pain?
A healthy back allows a person to support their body efficiently, assisting for ease in movement. Human back anatomy compromises the complex structure of tendons, bones, muscles, ligaments & tendons that work mutually to support the body. Few of the spine sections are cushioned with cartilage kind of pads termed as disks. Difficulties or miscoordination in any of these segments leads to back pain.
Although back pain is very common among peoples of all ages, it is more observed in mid-life. Women are more inclined to suffer from back pain than that of men.
Approximately everyone at least once in lifetime gets back pain.
Globally nearly 540 million people are affected by back pain at any one time.
Types of Back Pain
There are two types of back pain depending on time period it lasts and treatment.
Acute Back Pain
Acute back pain is the one which comes suddenly and stays for a brief period of time. Acute pain requires normal or minimal treatment and people mostly recovery within a week or two.
Acute pain is mostly overlooked and treated by pain killers or simply getting back to the normal routine if the pain is not intense.
Chronic Back Pain / Persistent Back Pain
Unlike acute pain, chronic back pain aka persistent back pain persists beyond 2 to 4 weeks if a proper medical evaluation & treatment is not pursued.
Evaluation of chronic back pain generally concentrates on a thorough analysis of the patient’s medical history. This evaluation also involves investigating hereditary reasons for back pain if any.
In exceptional events, cancer or an infection is detected or the pain is often associated with spinal joints, discs, or back muscles.
What are the Symptoms of Back Pain?
Pain anywhere in the back or seldom all the way down the buttocks & legs are the most frequent and common symptom of back pain.
Acute pain goes away without treatment, but chronic pain and its symptoms require doctor intervention for proper cure.
People should visit a doctor if they have any of the listed symptoms
- inflammation or swelling of the back
- Pain while performing activities and don’t go even after lying down or relaxing
- Persistent pain in legs that reaches below the knees
- Pain due to a recent injury, bump or shock to the back
- Difficulty or incontinence in urination & fecal.
- Numbness around the genitals, anus or buttocks
What are the Main Causes of Back Pain?
- Strain, injury or tension are the basic reason for the origination of back pain.
- Back pain is caused due to strained ligaments or muscles, muscle contraction or tension, damaged discs, injuries due to accident or fall, etc.
- A sudden or uncomfortable body movement, lifting heavy objects or wrong posture while lifting leads to strain.
Daily movement and body posture
- Daily activities or bad body posture can also contribute to back pain. Twisting, stretching beyond the limit, bowing down in awkward position, standing or sitting for an extended time causes back pain.
- Practicing a hunched sitting posture while using a computer or driving increases the risk of back and shoulder pain over time.
- Driving continuously for a prolonged duration even if not with a hunched posture is also a reason for back pain
- Extending the neck ahead while driving or using a computer may cause back pain
- Resting on a mattress which least supports the body & spine can initiate back pain.
Few of the complications like disc herniation, osteoarthritis (spinal stenosis), spondylolisthesis, sciatica, ruptured disks, bulging disks, osteoporosis, cauda equina syndrome can cause back pain
Having a high fever & mild warm portion on the back with back pain can be a result of spine infection.
A person suffering from spine cancer, experiences back pain. A tumor on the spine may push against a nerve, following in pain of back.
How is Back Pain Diagnosed?
After proper symptom analysis & thorough physical examination doctor may easily detect back pain.
- An X-ray, MRI, or CT scan can provide information regarding the state of the soft tissues & muscles in the back.
- Bone scans can identify bone tumors or fractures generated by osteoporosis
- Electromyography or EMG measures the electrical impulses generated by nerves in acknowledgment to muscles. This verifies nerve compression.
- The doctor may suggest a blood test to be sure if there is any infection.