Statistics indicate that about 16 million adults in the United States suffer persistent or chronic back pain. That makes back pain the sixth most costly condition with an allocation of over $12 billion health care costs.
The reality is when such a larger population is suffering; various people would come out purporting to have solutions for the pain. However, back pain is a complicated condition that sometimes presents different symptoms from the same problem. And the process to manage the pain can be challenging and frustrating.
This article covers the various types of back pain and how to identify them. It provides the best ways to manage different stages and types.
Causes of Back Pain
Your back is composed of complex structures like ligaments, muscles, discs, tendons, and bones working together to support your body and enable you to move. Any problem with any of the back components would end in pain. The pain can be as a result of;
Most back pain stems from tension, strain, or injury of the back components that are frequently caused by activities like;
- Lifting heavy objects
- Making awkward or abrupt movement
- Improperly lifting of items
Such activities may result in muscle spasms, tension, strain, or damaged discs and injured/fractured bones and ligaments. First aid administration is necessary if you encounter workplace injuries.
Several structural concerns would result in backaches, including;
- Bulging or ruptured discs- discs on the vertebra may bulge or rupture, increasing pressure on the surrounding nerves, thus causing pain.
- Arthritis – Osteoarthritis may cause problems to bones found at the lower back and hips
- Sciatica –This is sharp and shooting pain caused by the bulging of the disc. It travels from the buttocks to the legs.
- Kidney problems such as kidney stones and infection may also cause backaches
- Curvatures of the spine- the unusual curving of the spine may cause some backaches, like in the case of scoliosis where the spine curves to one side.
Movement and Posture
Some body movements and sitting positions may easily lead to back pain. For instance, poor posture when using the computer may increase the chances of back and shoulder aches over time.
Here are some activities that increase your chances of back pain:
- Awkward bending for long periods
- Lifting, pushing, and pulling or carrying heavy objects
- Sitting or standing for long hours
- Sleeping on a mattress that doesn’t support your body or keep your spine straight
- Long driving sessions without breaks
Types of Back Aches
Backaches come in different kinds, presenting various signs and symptoms. Watch out for the following types;
Inflammatory Back Pain
Also known as ankylosing spondylitis, this back pain is caused by the inflammation of the spinal joints, sometimes associated with cancer and infections on the spine. You may experience:
- Persistent pain for over three months
- Stiffness and back pain that worsens immobility
- Back pain that eases with physical activities or gentle exercises
Acute Back Pain
This pain lasts for a few weeks but often suddenly comes back. You may experience this time of aches after sudden strain, injury, or muscle spasm, which occurs from awkward bending and lifting heavy objects. This is self-diagnosed as you can always think of the activity causing it from what you did. With pain relievers, you would be able to manage it.
Chronic Back Pain
Having chronic pain presents a total discomfort, and it would feel like waiting for the pain to strike again or return. This type of back pain is a more challenging and frustrating back condition that prevents severe pain and requires profound treatment. The worst is that the pain is gradual and long-lasting and may stick around for up to six weeks or more. What frustrates me more is not knowing what causes the pain, which would not go away on its own.
Watch out for the following signs and symptoms:
- Constant, dull, and long-lasting ache
- Sharp and stabbing pain with a tingling or burning sensation
- Inability to do any physical activity
- Feeling pain on other parts of the body
We also have:
- Radicular back pain- sharp and traveling pain at your lower.
- Mechanical/axial pain- refers to lower back pain affecting the spine, joints, and discs.
How Can You Manage Various Types Of Back Aches?
To ease or avoid back pain experiences, ensure you:
Maintain a Good Posture
A poor posture can worsen your back pain, especially if you sit for long periods. So, if you’re using a computer, avoid slumping over your keyboard. Instead, sit upright with your shoulder over your body.
Exercise is one of the best ways of living a healthy life. Also, it’s key to treating and managing various backaches, especially chronic pain. Therefore, check with your physical therapist to find out the best exercises that suit your condition; note all activities would work for everyone.
Consider Your Diet
Some foods are highly inflammatory, so check with your doctor to see if your diet could be playing a role in your inflammatory back pain. Also, maintain a healthy weight to help reduce the pressure on your spine.
Depending on your condition, the doctor may recommend some over-the-counter medicine like painkillers to help relieve pain and discomfort.
Back pain can cause too much discomfort and prevent you from doing your daily activities. So, ensure you visit and consult with your doctor to help identify the best treatment method that would relieve you of the pain.