Back pain, notably in the lower back, is widespread and one of the common reasons people visit doctors. Typically, back pain improves within a few weeks but sometimes lasts longer or keeps coming back. Luckily, there are measures to relieve or prevent back pain episodes.
Reasons for back pain
There are multiple reasons people develop back pain, but it’s always the apparent reason, and often, it gets better on its own. A pulled muscle is one of the primary reasons for back pain. Medical conditions like sciatica, slipped disc, or ankylosing spondylitis can also cause back pain. In rare cases, back pain can signify severe problems, including broken bone, infection, or cancer. Other reasons include:
- Ruptured disks
- Bulging disks
- Abnormal curvature of the spine
- Kidney problems
People who have adapted to a hunched back sitting position during work or while using computers tend to increase the risk of shoulder and back pain problems over time. Their everyday activity can include:
- Poor posture
- Over muscle tension
- Being for an extended period
- Standing or sitting for an extended period
- Long driving with no breaks
- Straining the neck forward
How do you ease back pain?
- Try to stay active with daily chores and activities.
- Consider an anti-inflammatory medicine.
- Use an ice bag or pack to reduce swelling or pain.
- Do regular exercise and stretches to avoid back pain.
- Try not to stay in bed for an extended period.
When to consult a doctor for back pain?
- When back pain doesn’t improve after self or home treatment
- When back pain prevents you from regular activities
- When back pain gets worsens over time
- When coping with back pain becomes an everyday struggle
Sings of severe pain include:
- Constant back pain
- Lack of sleep because of back pain
- Hard to move
Medical emergency back pain
Call for an urgent medical emergency when you have back pain and:
- High temperature
- Abrupt weight loss
- Swelling or lump in the pain region
- Worsens at night
- Pains during coughing, sneezing, or pooing
- Pain develops to the top of the back
- Numbness, pain, weakness, or tingles in both the legs
- Tingles or numbness near genitals or buttocks
- Chest pain
- Back pain starts after a severe accident
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
Treatments of backpain
When the back pain gets severe or does not get any better, consult a health professional, they may prescribe painkillers to relax muscles. Other treatments that are probably recommended are
- Regular exercise
- Manual therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
Surgery might also be an option when the reason behind back pain is a medical condition.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD
Page last reviewed: 23 JUNE 2022