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Lower Back Pain

Everything You Need To Know About Back Pain

It is no secret that back pain is common and affects many people, especially adults. Perhaps, you lifted something really heavy or are dealing with a degenerative condition, such as arthritis, whatever the reason may be, most people are prone to ignore the symptoms and carry on with their lives.

It is time you start taking back pain more seriously and take the necessary measures to eliminate the problem once and for all. There are numerous bad habits and causes which may result in recurrent pain.

One of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of back pain is adopting good posture and getting sufficient exercise. While some types of back pain may be different, most conditions share the same symptoms which include the following:

Bad Posture

  • Severe and localized pain starting from the neck to the lower back
  • Persistent ache or stiffness along the spine
  • Inability to perform daily tasks and stand straight without experiencing pain or muscle spasms in the lower back
  • Chronic ache in the back, especially after completing daily tasks or standing for extended periods of time

Some severe signs of back pain include groin numbness and difficulty in urinating. Other symptoms of a serious condition include high fever, chest pain, fainting, abdominal pain and unexplainable weight loss. Contact your doctor immediately if you suffer from any of these conditions immediately.

Types of Back Pain

There are generally three types of back pain, depending on the affected area:

  • Lower Back Pain
  • Middle Back Pain
  • Upper Back Pain

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain starts from below the rib cage, also known as the lumbar region. Lower back pain is a natural phenomenon all human beings experience. The pain can be quite intense but fortunately, it can be treated by seeking help from a doctor or by performing exercises at home. Lower back pain may also result in muscle spasms that cause severe pain and disability.

Young Man with Back Pain

Middle Back Pain

Middle back pain, also known as thoracic back pain, is felt in the region of the thoracic vertebrae that starts from the bottom of the neck and ends at the top of the lumbar spine. This type of back pain occurs because strain, poor posture or can be result of a sudden injury or trauma.

According to this reputable medical source, middle back pain causes severe pain and may cause significant restriction and exclusion of educational, leisure and employment activities.

Upper Back Pain

Unlike lower back pain, upper back pain is not common and is experienced mostly by seniors. The most common causes of upper back pain include joint dysfunction and muscular irritation.

Back Pain in Upper Region

Upper and middle back pain is not as common as lower back pain because the muscles and bones in this region do not flex and move as much as the bones in the lower back or neck. Instead, the bones and muscle of this region help protect important organs, such as the heart and lungs.

Major Causes of Back Pain

Slouching on the chair for hours in front of a computer screen or sleeping in the wrong posture may result in back pain. The following are some common causes of back pain:

Strain

A strain is a muscle or tendon injury. Tendons are connectors which connect the muscles to the bone. A spinal strain can result in serious back pain and can be caused by falling down, improper lifting methods and poor body mechanics. A strain can temporarily limit movement and restrict patients from performing everyday tasks.

Sciatica

Sciatica is caused by compression of the spinal nerve root in the lower back, leading to the degeneration of an intervertebral disc. When a spinal root is compressed, it gets inflamed and sends messages to the brain, signaling the pain.

Back Pain Caused by Sciatica

People who suffer from sciatica experience a sharp pain that travels through the lower back down the back of the leg. They should contact a doctor immediately and seek help.

Degenerative Disc Disease

As we grow older, our bodies undergo a number of changes at a cellular level. Similarly, the intervertebral discs in our spine start dehydrating, which alters their shape and height. This shortens the space between two vertebral bodies, also known as disc space.

Decrease in disc space narrows the nerve passage and increases friction between the discs. Abnormal amounts of stress when applied to the region results in excruciating pain and discomfort.

Disastrous Habits that Cause Back Pain

Driving

Truck drivers are prone to backache since they spend their day putting high amounts of stress on their back. To make matters worse, lifting heavy boxes and helping to unload goods are also an integral part of their job that aggravates tension on the back.

Back Pain Caused by Long Hour Driving

They should invest in ergonomic seat cushions to help ease back pain. Seat cushions are designed to improve blood circulation and eliminate pain.

Your Office Chair

Sitting in one position for an extended period of time, whether in a driver’s seat or an office chair, can drastically increase the risk of back pain. Extensive pressure on the spinal discs can cause them to wear down. The human body is designed for mobility and movement hence get up from the seat and take a short walk every few hours.

If you cannot afford to move, stretch your arms and legs. You will instantly feel a lot better. To improve posture, invest in a seat cushion to reduce the risk of backache.

Bad Mattress

Thought getting 8 hours of sleep was enough to stay healthy? Well, all that goes to waste if you sleep on an old mattress. The ideal mattress should give you uniform support, eliminating the formation of air spaces between your back and the mattress when you lie down.

Pain Caused by Bad Mattress

Lack of support from the mattress can aggravate back pain and ruin spine alignment, resulting in poor sleeping posture and cause muscle strain. Invest in a mattress that provides support for the natural curves and alignments of the spine. This reduces the risk of muscle soreness when you wake up in the morning.

Shoulder Bags

Designer bags may uplift your wardrobe but at the same time cause damage to your back. By lifting heavy weight on your shoulder, you change the curve of the spine which ultimately leads to back pain. Before you head outside, inspect your bag and remove all unnecessary items which may result in extra load. Avoid injury by following these simple tips:

  • Avoid carrying a heavy bag on the same side. This overworks one side of the muscles, causing permanent damage to your posture, switch sides every few minutes and you will find yourself feeling lighter and more active.

Heavy Shoulder Bags can Cause Serious Pain

  • Limit strain by carrying two small light-weight bags inside of a single heavy one. In addition, avoid elbow overload and hold your bag on your shoulder rather than on the crook of your arm.
  • To prevent backache, consider strapping your purse diagonally. This causes the trunk muscles to carry more weight, providing relief to the back muscles.
  • Do not forget to take a break. Leave that heavy purse in the car or carry grocery bags one at a time instead of carrying the entire load all the way to your vehicle. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

Poor Posture

Enjoy slouching on the chair while binge watching your favorite movies? Poor posture is among the most common back pain causes.

Correcting your posture might seem difficult at first as your body has become accustomed to sitting or standing in a particular way but it is increasingly important to alleviate muscle tension. Get into the habit of sitting with a proper posture. Perform exercises to strengthen your core muscles and also back extensions to correct posture.

Worn-out Shoes

It’s no secret that high heels and stilettos are not the best shoes for your back. Treat yourself to some new pairs of shoes. Buy shoes that are not only comfortable but fit perfectly well. People who have high arches can opt for shoes with heels while someone with a flat foot can opt for other options. Toss away all your worn-out shoes as they may be causing increased damage to your back and foot as well.

Old Shoes can Cause Back Pain

For covering long distances, opt for a comfortable pair of sneakers instead of heels. Working women may wear heels for short durations in the office and then switch to sneakers when they are on the subway. Flip-flops may seem the ultimate comfy footwear. However, lack of support can lead to increased strain on your tendons and joints. Only wear flip-flops when you are at the beach or pool.

Lack of Exercise

Contrary to popular belief, taking a nap or resting too much may not always ease back pain. Quite often, lack of exercise can worsen the situation, leading to stiffness, weakness and de-conditioning. Regular exercise is needed to maintain the exchange of fluids in the spinal structures to reduce swelling and disc injury.

Being sedentary for long periods also causes weight gain. Strength exercises, stretching, jogging and yoga are some ways to improve muscle tone and give your back support to keep it pain-free.

Extreme Physical Activities

Extreme physical activities, such as boxing, bungee jumping, and diving may also cause back pain and result in injuries.

Back Pain from Extreme Sports

Back Pain Treatment at Home

Apart from gulping down pain meds, there are a number of natural ways to alleviate backache. We advise you to visit the doctor in case of injuries and numbness but when it comes to routine, here are some guidelines to tackle back pain at home, according to WebMD:

Ice First, Heat Later

Stock up the fridge with some icepacks since ice is the perfect pain reliever for backaches. Ice temporarily blocks the pain signals, thus reducing swelling and inflammation. Wrap up an icepack in a fuzzy towel and apply it on the affected area for up to 20 minutes several times a day, especially after physical activity. If you are out of icepacks, resort to using a bag of frozen peas or corns.

When to Use Ice and Heat for Back Problems

After about 48 hours, set aside the ice and opt for moist heat to stimulate blood flow and prevent painful spasms. Soak a towel in warm water, squeeze out the excess water, then flatten it and fold it neatly.

Place the towel on the affected area, covering the towel with a plastic wrap. Set a heating pad on medium heat and place it on top of the plastic. Similar to the ice, leave it in place for 20 minutes and repeat several times a day to reduce back pain.

Yoga

Not comfortable running or jogging, what you need is some light exercises that won’t cause too much stress on your back. Several of the postures in yoga not only relax the mind but also strengthen the back and abdominal muscles, helping you adopt better posture. Yoga provides proper conditioning to your muscles which in turn greatly reduces the risk of backache.

Back Pain Yoga Exercise

With consistent practice and patience, individuals will not only develop good posture but will also benefit from an increased sense of balance. In addition, yoga reduces tension in the stress carrying muscles by incorporating stretches. While performing yoga, individuals are required to gentle poses for about 10-20 seconds.

Get a Move On

Stop being lazy and get a move on. Do not use the bad weather as an excuse for not going to the gym and exercise at home. Our spine is similar to the rest of our body. You need to move it. Stay busy by performing daily chores. Make the beds, run an errand and go to work. If you are up for it, take your bike out and explore the neighborhood but do be careful!

Running Improves your Health

If you want to work out, start off with a simple routine. An over the top workout can cause injury and cause further damage to your back, resulting in inflammation. Remember to take it easy. Always look at the signs and symptoms your body is trying to tell you.

Think Ergonomically

Modify your workplace so you do not have to slouch or hunch forward to see the screen clearly or reach out too far to get a hold of the mouse. Invest in an ergonomic chair and a cushion seat. Adjust the seat according to your height. In the long run, ergonomic office solutions improve productivity and make workstations more effective.

Massage

After sitting at your desk all day long or taking part in a strenuous workout, it is imperative you treat yourself to a good old-fashioned massage. What was previously considered a luxury is now a part of mainstream therapy. Doctors and health professionals around the world advise their patients to spend a relaxing day at the spa.

Massage of Back

After a long day, your back muscles are likely to become tense and overstressed from repetitive use. A good back massage effectively helps relieve lower back pain and soothes tension. In addition, a back massage also improves blood circulation in the spinal area, nourishing the muscles with plenty of oxygen and nutrients for good back health.

Watch the Weight

People who are obese or overweight are more likely to suffer from back pain. Ditch those extra calories by opting for healthier food choices and get as much exercise as you can. Extra weight puts excess stress on the spine. To compensate for the extra weight, the spine tends to tilt, ruining posture and adding unnatural curvature to the spine.

Say Goodbye to Bad Habits

Make a conscious effort to improve your posture. Invest in a seat cushion to make the process easier. Avoid slouching in front of the computer screen and avoid sitting in the same posture for extensive periods of time. Ditch screen based sedentary activities and take a nice long walk to the park instead.

Equipment for Back Pain Relief

Here’s a list of inexpensive equipment which might help you alleviate back pain:

Cush Comfort’s Seat Cushion

Does your job require you to sit for hours in front of the computer screen or restricts you to the driver’s seat? Invest in Cush Comfort’s memory foam seat cushions. These cushions are medically proven to reduce back aches, numbness and point pressure associated with sitting for extensive periods of time.

Design of CushComfort

The ergonomic seat cushion eliminates point pressure and provides superior comfort. Cush Comfort uses a non-slip fabric that keeps the cushion in place for hours without slipping out of position.

Ergonomic Chair

Let’s face it, you cannot quit your job because of the damage it is doing to your back but the good news is you can switch the chair. Invest in an ergonomic chair to improve posture and eliminate backache. Sitting on the same spot causes extensive stress on the spine.

Chair Made to Relief Back Pain

Ergonomic chairs are specifically designed to provide support to the main structures of your body that are prone to get stressed while working. However, to gain complete benefits of the chair, adjust the office chair according to your physical proportions. In addition, do not slump or slouch forward on your chair as it adds extra stress on the structures in the lower back.

Exercise Ball

Looking for ways to spice up your exercise routine? Invest in an exercise ball. Exercise balls are great for people who suffer from back problems because it supports the back as you stretch and exercise. In addition, training on the ball makes it easier for users to focus on hard to reach muscles.

Exercise your Sore Back

Ergonomic Mattress

The next time you go shopping for a new mattress, here are a few features you should consider:

  • Invest in a mattress that conforms to the spine’s natural curves. This keeps the spine aligned in a proper position
  • Look for a mattress that evenly distributes pressure across the body to improve blood circulation and enhance sleep quality
  • Look for a mattress that minimizes transfer of movement

In addition, invest in a pillow that complements the mattress you choose.

Importance of Back Pain Treatment

Unfortunately, thousands of people around the world suffer from back pain but most people are likely to ignore it. No matter what you feel, staying in bed all day long can also make matters worse. Here’s why you should take back pain more seriously:

The Pain Could Get Worse

This goes without saying: ignoring the pain can only make it worse. Even in the absence of pain, the body might be experiencing stress due to poor posture without you realizing it. This might make you more susceptible to injuries and prone to weakness.

Dangerous Back Pain

It Could Indicate a Disease

Severe back pain displays extreme symptoms, such as excessive sweating, fainting, numbness, and lack of mobility. In such cases, it is imperative that you seek help from a professional. Unfortunately, back pain is not always a sign of stress and strain but can also be caused by diseases of the internal organs.

Kidney stones and infections are only among the many conditions that cause back pain. Seek advice from a professional if you experience severe and chronic back pain.

It Could Cost You

Invest in inexpensive ergonomic chairs and cushions to improve posture and spinal health. Ignoring backache could require medical intervention in the future, costing up to thousands of dollars.

Conclusion

By investing in the right equipment, adopting the right posture, getting sufficient exercise and eating healthy, you can reduce the effects of the dreaded back pain that is affecting your quality of life. Follow the abovementioned guidelines and you are sure to benefit from better health.

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