A Guide to Back Pain

What is back pain?

Back pain is a common problem, which affects many people. It can present in many different ways, including back aches, tension pain, sharp, burning or stiffness. It includes neck pain, shoulder pain, upper back pain extending through your shoulder blades, lower back pain and hip pain. The origin of the pain can be from nerves, muscles, bones, discs or joints. The onset can be acute (sudden and less than 6 weeks in duration) or more of a chronic nature (longer than a 6 week duration). Back pain can be constant or intermittent and can also refer to other areas, for example, down the legs or arms. Some of these symptoms may present as weakness, numbness or tingling in these areas.

What causes back pain?

Back pain can be caused by a number of things. The back is a complex structure which is made up of bones, muscles, discs, nerves and joints. So, pain can be triggered by any of these components. Back pain can be triggered by everyday movements such as sitting/standing or bending or lifting badly. However, sometimes the pain can present for no apparent reason. Other factors which may increase the risk include weight, poor posture or anxiety and stress. Some common causes of back pain include sports injuries, accidents, degenerative disc or joint disease, arthritis, disc injuries, muscle strains or spasms. In the majority of cases, the pain is due to these common causes, though it can be due to more serious underlying causes.

How can back pain affect your life?

Although back pain is a common condition, which many people suffer from, if left untreated it can have a debilitating effect on your life. The pain can affect simple activities of daily living, for example, getting dressed, cleaning, cooking or exercising. It can even be difficult to find a comfortable position to sit, stand or sleep in. The back pain can go on to have an effect on social life and emotional and mental well-being, especially if the pain is of a chronic nature and has been left untreated. Many patients often find that they are fed up of having to take pain medication to combat the pain.

Hints and tips for alleviating back pain

  • A good sleep posture, on your side or back on a firm mattress with a good pillow, which will fill the space between the head and neck to help with neck pain as it keeps the head in alignment with the spine.
  • Regular, gentle exercise.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Heat or ice over the area. Ice is recommended to help reduce inflammation, and heat is to reduce muscle spasms and cramping.
  • Ensure you have a good work posture, and your computer is positioned correctly. Position your computer screen at eye level and straight in front of you so you do not need to keep rotating the head and neck. A good supportive office chair is also important as is taking regular breaks from your desk to walk around and stretch.

If you are struggling with back pain, don’t suffer in silence, take advantage of Freedom Clinics free comprehensive assessment. Visit the website and make an appointment today.