Back pain is the physical suffering caused by either an injury or disease. The pain and discomfort can change in the type and intensity. Pain can range from mild to severe having a throbbing, pricking, burning or aching sensation. Back pain can be the result of sprains, strains, spasms, herniated disk, osteoarthritis, sciatica, stress or other health conditions.
- Sprains, strains or spasms are an injury to the muscle that can be caused from improper lifting, twisting, or incorrect bending.
- Herniated disk is a spinal disk that bulges pressing on a spinal nerve, therefore causing the sensation of pain. The pain is a shooting or numbness in either the arms or legs.
- Osteoarthritis is when the spinal vertebrae rub together causing stiffness and pain.
- Sciatica is back pain caused by the sciatic nerve being pinched or irritated. The pain can be a burning numbness going down the leg or a sharp shooting pain that goes down the leg.
- Stress causes the back muscles to become tense. Tensed muscles causes back pain and spasms.
- Other health conditions can be cause for back pain. Conditions such as osteoporosis, scoliosis, a back fracture or cancer can result in back pain.
Using proper lifting techniques can prevent back strain and spasms. Think before you lift. When available use hand trucks, a cart or a dolly to move a heavy objects. When lifting any object keep your feet shoulder width apart, bend your knees and lift while keeping your back straight. When sitting the object down squat down and then place the item down.
Having regular physical exercise helps strengthen the back and maintain a healthy body weight. Before beginning any exercise program consult your family physician or health care provider.
When experiencing back pain or discomfort take a pain reliever as recommended by your physician. Place ice in a towel and apply to the back for 10 minutes. Ice reduces swelling and inflammation. Heat can be soothing. When applying health keep it on the back for 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn your skin.
Most cases of back pain usually go away in a few weeks. If you have chronic back pain your family physician may refer you to an orthopedic surgeon, a neurologist, a physical therapist, a chiropractor or another healthcare professional.