Have you ever skipped work or an important event because of the pain in the back? Well, you are not alone. Back pain is a common problem most people experience. In most instances, back pain is not serious and gets better with time. However, in certain cases, back pain may be a sign of an underlying problem that needs medical attention. If the back pain persists for longer than usual or becomes unbearable, then it is important to show it to your healthcare provider or an orthopedic for back pain.
In this blog, we will be learning more about back pain, its causes, diagnosis, and treatment. So, please keep reading.
What Is Back Pain?
Back pain is an extremely common problem many people have. Back pain can make a person extremely uncomfortable and hamper daily activities. The pain may range from mild to moderate pain that is constant or suddenly sharp and excruciating pain. Various reasons like an accident, wrong posture, lifting any heavy object, or inflammatory disorders might be causing back pain.
Causes And Risk Factors Of Back Pain
There are various causes of back pain. The back of a human consists of various structures like muscles, bones, disks, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. Any issue in these structures may cause back pain. Where in most cases, an orthopedic for back pain will diagnose the cause, in certain cases, the cause of back pain may remain unknown. The various causes of back pain include the following,
In most instances, back pain may be caused due to straining. Daily activities like lifting a heavy object, lifting an object in an improper way, a sudden movement may cause strain leading to back pain. The strain on the back may also happen due to tension in the muscles, injuries, excessive stress during sports, falls or fractures, and muscle tension or spasm.
There are various structural problems that may be the reason behind back pain. The best thing to do in case of back pain due to structural problems is to consult an orthopedic for back pain. The structural problems causing back pain include the following,
- Ruptured or bulging discs
- Improper or abnormal spine curvature
A Sudden Movement Or Wrong Posture
People who work for prolonged hours at a desk or play sports are prone to developing back pain. Any sudden movement that may occur due to coughing, sneezing, carrying something, or overstretching may start back pain. Wrong posture while standing, sitting or sleeping, sitting for long hours on a chair while working or driving can cause back pain.
Other causes of back pain may include the following,
- Spine cancer
- Infections of the bladder, spine, pelvis, or kidney
- Having shingles
- Sleeping disorders
- Cauda equina syndrome
- Kidney stones
Who Is At Risk Of Back Pain?
The risk of developing back pain increases in people who are,
- Genetic factor
- Have a sedentary lifestyle with no physical activity
- Have the habit of smoking
- Have hormonal problems
- Have stress and anxiety
Signs You Should See An Orthopedic
Where in most instances, the back pain subsides and goes away with time on its own, in certain cases, it is important to see an orthopedic for back pain. The signs which indicate that you should see an orthopedic include the following,
- Back inflammation or swelling
- Back pain that persists and worsens with time
- Numbness or tingling sensation in the legs
- Back pain that does not get better with rest
- Loss of weight
- A loss of bowel control
- Problem urinating
- Feeling numb around the genitals, buttocks, or anus
- Back pain due to fall or any injury
Tests To Diagnose Back Pain
There are several diagnostic tests that will be carried out by the doctor to diagnose the cause of back pain. These tests to diagnose back pain include the following,
- A physical examination
- Blood tests
- Urine analysis
- Imaging tests like X-rays, CT scan, bone scan, MRI scan
- Electromyography (EMG)
Why Go To An Orthopedic Doctor?
An orthopedic doctor specialises in treating any conditions that may be affecting bones or joints. An orthopedic doctor helps in treating and preventing any problem that may be affecting the back and causing pain. Hence it is best to consult an orthopedic doctor for back pain.
Different Treatments Available To Treat Back Pain
Back pain, if minor, usually goes away with adequate rest, hot or cold compression, and OTC pain-relieving medications. However, in case of severe pain, after diagnosing the cause, the doctor will prescribe the treatment. The treatment approach may be non-surgical or surgical.
The non-surgical treatment approach that may be used to treat back pain include,
- Medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), analgesics, muscle relaxants, or antidepressants.
- Topical medications like gels, sprays, creams, ointments, or patches
- Injections (steroids or botox)
- Alternative therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic method, shiatsu, and yoga
Surgery for back pain is performed rarely and in cases of severe back pain. Patients having structural abnormalities who didn’t do well with the non-surgical treatment approach are usually prescribed surgery. Different surgical treatments for back pain may include the following,
- Partial removal of the vertebra
Tips To Prevent Back Pain
Preventive measures that can help in preventing or improving back pain include the following,
- Although regular exercising is good for maintaining a healthy weight and strength building, it is advised to perform exercises with the right posture. As a beginner, excessive straining during exercise is to be avoided. Low to moderate-impact exercises can be performed without excessive strain on the back. Exercise can also help improve back pain when done correctly; hence, it is advised to consult a doctor before beginning any workout routine.
- Proper posture is to be maintained while standing and sitting for prolonged hours, driving, sleeping, and lifting any heavy object.
- Avoid lifting anything that is too heavy alone; instead, ask for help from someone.
- Eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D to ensure optimum bone health.
- Quitting smoking can also help in preventing back pain.
Back pain is a common problem faced by many people. In most instances, it is not serious and heals with time. However, in case of persistent back pain, it is essential to get medical attention from an Orthopedic to diagnose the underlying cause and get the right treatment. Most people who have back pain don’t realise that the problem is being caused by incorrect posture. Hence, posture correction is usually needed to prevent back pain.
At AyuHealthHospitals, our team of highly skilled and qualified orthopedic doctors provide the best examination, diagnosis, treatment and aftercare for any bone or joint problem our patients have, including back pain. We believe in providing the best services to all our patients at affordable prices.
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About the Author
Dr. S. Goel
Dr. S. Goel is a renowned Internal Medicine Specialist currently practicing at Ayu Health Hospital, Bangalore. He is a Specialist in Internal Medicine, Diabetes HTN, Paediatric Care, and Family Medicine.