Everything You Should Know About Back Pain

Are you suffering from back pain? If you are, don’t be alarmed! It is a common issue among many people.

A lot of people take time away from work to recover from back pain. However, if you are suffering from back pain, you should consider consulting an orthopaedic surgeon Singapore immediately so that you can get treated and return to your everyday routine as soon as possible.

That being said, prevention is always better than cure. If we know enough about back pain, we can avoid it right from the beginning.

Let us first look at the possible causes of back pain.

Causes of Back Pain

There are various muscles, tissues, bones, and discs on the back. All these work together to form our body structure.

Each type of bone and muscle on the back is extremely important. Anything wrong in this area can cause back pain. Hence, there is no exact cause for the problem.

Strain

One of the common causes of back pain is strain. It can also occur from injury or tension. Here are some possible causes of back pain:

  • Tension in the muscle
  • Discs getting damaged
  • Any type of injury or fracture in the back
  • Muscle spasm
  • The strain on muscles or ligaments

Muscle spasm can be caused by activities such as:

  • Trying to lift heavy objects
  • Lifting something in the wrong way
  • Sudden awkward movements

Structural problems

Some structural issues may result in back pain as well, such as:

  • Bulging discs: If there is pressure on nerves, it can cause bulging.
  • Osteoporosis: It is a condition where the bones become brittle and are likely to break or crack easily.
  • Ruptured discs: The spine in the back is made of the vertebra which is cushioned by discs. Sometimes the discs may rupture, leaving the vertebra vulnerable to external pressure. This can result in back pain.
  • Kidney issues: You may have back pain if you have kidney infections or kidney stones.
  • Arthritis: It can affect the lower back, joints, hips, and other areas. In some cases, the spinal cord becomes thinner, which can cause pain in the back and related areas.
  • Sciatica: This causes a sharp pain running from the buttocks to the legs. It usually results from a pressed nerve or bulged disc.
  • Spine becoming curved: Sometimes the spine can curve to one side. It creates an imbalance in the body mass which results in back pain.

Movement and posture

Back pain can also come from improper posture or movements. For example:

  • Stretching in the wrong way
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Twisting
  • Causing tension in the muscles
  • Sitting or standing for a prolonged time
  • Bending awkwardly
  • Sleeping on the wrong mattress
  • Forcing neck forward during driving or sitting in front of a computer
  • Driving for long periods without any breaks in between

Other causes

You can also suffer from back pain due to the following reasons:

  • If you have cancer in the spine, it can press against nerves causing pain.
  • Sleeping disorders can often result in back pain.
  • Cauda equina syndrome can cause the spinal nerve bundle to rise. The symptoms of the problem are back pain, pain in the buttocks, thigh, and genital area.
  • Sometimes there may be an infection in the nerves. Depending on which nerve is affected, it can cause back pain.
  • Like nerve infections, you may suffer from infection of the spine. This may result in a warm area in the back and fever.
  • Infections in the pelvic region can cause back pain.

Risk Factors of Back Pain

Certain conditions can give rise to backache, such as:

  • Excess weight
  • Aging
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Genetic inheritance
  • Activities related to the occupation
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Sitting too much
  • Incorrect strenuous exercise
  • Lack of physical fitness

Symptoms of Back Pain

You may feel back pain from time to time. Some conditions are normal while others can be critical.

If you face any of the following issues along with backache, you should contact a doctor immediately:

  • Fever
  • Problem during urination
  • Pain in the back along with the legs
  • Weight loss
  • A continuous backache that does not go away with rest
  • Numbness in the genital area, buttocks, or anus
  • Fecal or urinal incontinence
  • Injury in the back
  • Pain that reaches the knees
  • Inflammation and swelling on the back

When Should You See a Doctor?

You should see a doctor if:

  • You are injured in the back
  • If the pain does not go away after rest
  • Pain comes with weight loss
  • If you have backache with weakness
  • You feel numbness in the legs
  • If you have a fever

How is Back Pain Diagnosed?

Initially, the doctor will carry out a physical examination and note your symptoms.

You may also require one or more of the following tests:

  • An X-ray to tell you the condition of the bones in the back.
  • Slipped or ruptured disc can be caught with an MRI or CT scan.
  • Electromyography to help you understand if a nerve is pressed.
  • Bone scan to tell you if there is a fracture, compression, or bone tumor present in the body.
  • In order to find out infections, a blood test may be required.

Other Types of Diagnosis

An osteopath will diagnose you through palpation, or visual inspection. A chiropractor will do the same, but may also ask for test results.

If you visit a physical therapist, they will diagnose soft tissues and joints of the body.

Types of Back Pain

There are typically two types of back pain – chronic and acute. The pain is chronic if it lasts for three months and continues. If the pain lasts for six weeks, it is considered acute pain.

How Can Back Pain be Treated?

The treatment options available for back pain include:

Home treatment

At home, you can place ice packs, or take rest from work to get rid of the pain.

However, if you want to take medications, ibuprofen is a good pain reliever. In general, take medicines that are anti-inflammatory and non-steroidal.

Medical treatment

If home treatment does not solve the problem, you need medications under a doctor’s prescription.
You may be prescribed hydrocodone or codeine for a short period of time.

On top of that, you may need physical therapy, botox, cortisone injections, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and tractions.

Complementary therapies

Osteopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, shiatsu, and yoga are considered to be complementary therapies.

Surgery

In some cases, treatment may involve surgeries. This is especially when the nerves are compressed or because of herniated discs.

Surgery treatments may involve artificial disc insertion, a fusion of joints, or partially removing vertebra or a disc.

Prevention

Here are some tips to help you prevent back pain:

  • One of the best ways to avoid back pain is through exercise. You can try some core strengthening and flexibility exercises to control body weight and improve heart condition.
  • Have a diet rich in calcium and vitamin-D
  • Avoid smoking