Back pain that occurs in the lower back seems to be a common concern among Americans and seems to affect about 90% of the population at some time in their lives. Low back pain is a symptom and not a disease. Your aching back can be bothersome for a variety of reasons. Here are some possible reasons why you might be experiencing back pain.
Pain that comes from other organs may manifest itself as pain in the back. Disorders such as appendicitis, kidney diseases, pelvic infections aneurysms, bladder infections and ovarian disorder can cause pain in the back. A herniation, or bulging, of a disc between the lower back bones can be a cause of pain. Sciatica can also produce back pain as well as pain and numbness in the leg. Spinal stenosis occurs between the discs of the vertebrae in the back as they lose volume and moisture with age. This can cause inflammation in the back as well as nerve root impingement. Spinal degeneration can be a cause of morning stiffness in the back. A person may experience back pain when walking for a short distance or while standing for a long period of time. Musculoskeletal pain syndromes that are capable of producing low back pain include fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndromes. Other skeletal causes which can trigger low back pain include sacroilitis. These diseases are infections of the bones in the spine. The pain tends to be worse at night as well as when a person sits or stands for a long period of time. Tumors can also be a source of back pain.
Now that we know what low back pain is, what kind of treatment is available for it? There are many things you can do at home to help alleviate pesky back pain. The general recommendation is to resume normal activity as soon as it is possible. Stretching or doing other activities that place an even greater strain on the back should be avoided. Here are some things you can do in the treatment of back pain.
Try to sleep on you side with a pillow between your knees. This may help to increase comfort. Some doctors recommend that you lie on your back with a couple of pillows under your knees. There were no specific back exercises found that increased the functional ability or improved pain in people who experience acute back pain. For people that have chronic back pain, however, exercise may prove to be beneficial and help them resume their work and other normal activities. Nonprescription medications may help to relieve back pain. A couple of these medications include ibuprofen such as Nuprin, Advil or Motrin and acetaminophen such as Tylenol. These should only be used for the short-term. Some people seem to find some relief of back pain by using “deep heating rubs” or by using ice or heat. Although the use of these things has not been proven to be effective, there is certainly no harm in using them.
The subject of preventing back pain is somewhat controversial. Exercises such as abdominal crunches, stretches and the pelvic tilt may be helpful in preventing back pain. If you are required to do a lot of heavy lifting, sometimes a lumbar support belt is beneficial. If you must stand for a lengthy amount of time, try to keep yourself erect and your stomach pulled in. Chairs should be of an appropriate height and have good lumbar support. Having a chair that swivels tends to put less stress on the back. You must also sleep on a mattress that is not too hard and not too soft to avoid backaches. Finally, do not lift things that are too heavy.
In conclusion, this has been an effort to explain what low back pain is, what some of its causes are, what treatments are available and what you can do to prevent back pain.