Your back is a well-built structure with the spinal cord, muscles, ligaments, and nerves. These parts work together in a systematic way to support your back and body. The spinal structure is very versatile and functional but sensitive to injury and specific health conditions.
Your spine consists of 33 bones called vertebrae, which pile up to form a spinal canal and safeguards your spinal cord inside. Your spine divided into five sections:
- The cervical spine – upper part of the spine
- The thoracic spine – middle part of the spine
- The lumbar spine – the lower part of the spine
- The sacrum – bottom part of the spine
- The coccyx – tailbone of the spine
The vertebrae of each section is assigned to perform various functions. However, by any means, the functions of these parts get affected by many health conditions or trauma, resulting in back pain.
Sitting and working for a prolonged time, involving in rigorous activities and stress can also hurt your back. Back pain has become more common these days; nearly every middle-aged person suffers from back pain at some point of time.
Back pain ranges from a dull ache in the spine to a shooting, sharp pain. It might come and go frequently, be constant, become worse with certain activities like exercise or sitting for a long time, or associated with some other health conditions.
However, back pain can be annoying and troubles you in doing your daily activities; the good thing is that most back pain conditions improve or resolve with proper care and treatment within a few weeks.
Causes Of Back Pain
People of any age might affect back pain for different reasons. As you get older, the risk of developing lower back pain might increase due to several reasons such as early profession, degenerative disk diseases, etc.
Lower back pain might be associated with vertebral discs, bony lumbar spine, ligaments, spinal cord and nerves, lower back muscles, and other internal organs around the lumbar area. Upper back pain might be caused due to aorta disorders, tumours in the chest, inflammation of the spine, etc.
Problems with any component of your spine can cause back pain, and in some cases, the cause remains unclear. The damage might be due to strain, medical conditions, or poor posture, etc.
Back Pain Due To Strain
Back pain is commonly caused due to strain, tension, or trauma. Here are some of the causes of back pain
- Strained back muscles or ligaments
- Muscle spasms
- Stressed muscle
- Damaged vertebral disks
- Injuries or fractures due to motor vehicle accidents falls, etc.
Activities that may cause strains or spasms are:
- Lifting objects improperly
- Lifting too heavy objects without following cautions
- Making an abrupt or awkward movement, particularly in sports
Back Pain Due To Structural problems
Many structural problems might result in back pain.
Ruptured disks: Disks are cushioned between the vertebrae in your spine. The pressure on a nerve increases if the disk ruptures and results in back pain.
Bulging disks: If the disk bulges, it creates added pressure on your nerve, which can cause back pain.
Sciatica: A sharp pain progresses through the buttock down to the back of your leg due to the pressing of the sciatic nerve.
Spine Osteoarthritis: It can affect any joint in your body, including the small vertebral or facet joints in the spine. It occurs due to “wear and tear” of the cartilage, which can cause a dull, aching pain. The pain gets worse with movement.
Abnormal shape of the spine: some conditions make your spine develop in an abnormal shape that may result in back pain. Lordosis, kyphosis, and scoliosis are some of the examples.
Osteoporosis: the condition makes your bones brittle and porous, including the vertebrae of the spine, which might result in compression fractures.
Arthritis: In some people, arthritis narrows the space around the spinal cord. This leads to a condition known as spinal stenosis.
Kidney problems: Kidney stones or infection to your kidney can also cause back pain.
Ankylosing Spondylitis: It is a rare arthritic condition that causes back pain and stiffness in your spine.
Spondylolisthesis: It is a condition where your vertebra slips, mostly at the base of your spine.
Movement & Posture
Some daily activities and poor posture can also lead to back pain, which includes:
- Severe coughing or sneezing
- Awkward bending or other movements involving the spine
- pushing, pulling, lifting, or carrying something
- Standing or sitting for a longer time
- Improper sleeping postures
- Straining your neck forward or improper sitting posture while driving or using a computer
Some other medical conditions that can lead to back pain:
- Cauda equina syndrome
- Cancer of the spine
- Infection of the spine
- Bladder infections, kidney infections, or pelvic inflammatory disease may also lead to back pain.
- Sleeping disorders
Risk factors that may develop low back pain:
- Professional activities
- Sedentary lifestyle habits
- Poor physical activity
- Older age
- Obesity or excess weight
- Smoking and drinking
- strenuous physical activities
- Genetic factors
- Women are at more risk of lower back pain than men, which might be due to hormonal factors.
Back Pain Treatment
Back pain commonly resolves with some rest and home remedies. However, in some cases, it requires medical treatment. The treatment depends on the cause and aims to treat the underlying cause of back pain. The treatment option includes self-care, medication, therapies, and surgery.
Safe care strategies, such as taking rest, ice, and heat packs, can relieve pain.
Based on the cause severity of back pain, a spine doctor might recommend the following medicines:
- Over-the-counter (OTC) medication as pain relievers.
- Muscle relaxants
- Topical pain relievers
- Narcotics such as oxycodone or hydrocodone
- Antidepressants such as duloxetine and amitriptyline are effective to relieve chronic back pain
However, these medications need to be taken under the guidance of a spine doctor because they may cause other problems if you take the wrong dosage or medication.
Physical therapy and massage therapy are also effective procedures that help to relieve back pain.
Surgery for back pain
Surgery to treat back pain is rare. A spine surgeon suggests surgery if the patient suffers from disk problems, spinal deformities, spinal instability, nerve compression that lead to muscle weakness, etc.
Some surgical procedures include:
- Spinal fusion
- Spinal deformity correction
- Other decompression procedures
One way or the other, back pain can be treated. A lot of procedures have evolved over the past decades to treat back. If you are having any back pain problems, consult Dr. Surya Prakash Rao , a renowned spine surgeon in Hyderabad. He has more than two decades of experience in managing and treating back pain problems.