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Back-Pain-Causes-Diagnosis

Back pain is a common problem, which is experienced by people of different age groups. In other words, this is a common issue due to which people experience absence from work and undergo medical treatment. The problem can range from throbbing or dull aches of spine osteoarthritis which results in sharp and shooting pain. In some cases, the problem can come and go and might get worse with exercise or sitting for a long time. The back problem is frustrating and makes the person feel weak. However, in the majority of cases, minimal care can help to resolve the symptoms within a few weeks.

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Back pain has different possible reasons. Given below are some of the common causes:

The spinal disc is located between adjacent vertebrae and it is like a 

shock-absorbing cushion. This happens due to several reasons like weight gain, smoking, trauma to the spine, lifting heavy objects, or sitting for a long time. All of these things can make the person have a protruding or bulging disc.

With time, the bulging disc can tear if you do not get the treatment. When the disc tears, the inner content is released and the nerve roots can compress itself. The torn disc is also called a ruptured or herniated disc. Due to this, the person can have sharp pain which can move to one leg, buttock, or groin. In some cases, the pain can move to the arms.

Osteoarthritis can affect the joints as well as small joints of the spine. The problem occurs due to the wear & tear of the cartilage. This problem can result in throbbing pain, dull or aching. The person might have a popping sensation and the joints will rub against each other. Joint stiffness, as well as limited movement, can occur with spinal osteoarthritis.

Apart from aging, obesity can make the problem worse because excess weight puts pressure on the vertebral joints.

Spinal Stenosis problem develops with age. With age, the spinal canal becomes narrowed or restricted, due to which the osteoarthritis and tissues in the spine get thick. If the spinal canal is tight then the nerve root can compress which results in neurological symptoms like tingling, weakness, and numbness. Another condition which can develop spinal stenosis is Paget’s disease in which there is a deformity in how bone grows & breaks down.

Muscle sprain or strain is the most common reason for lower back pain.

– Strain means the muscle or tendon gets torn.

– Sprain means tearing of the ligament.

The tear occurs due to injury or inflammation which results in pain and sometimes muscle spasms can occur. The pain from these issues can result in mild to severe pain. This type of pain is described as “all over pain” which gets worse with movement and with rest the pain gets settled down. Along with pain, restricted range of motion and stiff muscles also come.

Sciatica is compression of the sciatic nerve which is caused by a bone spur or herniated disc. Injury to the pelvis, thigh, buttock, diabetes, or prolonged sitting can also cause sciatica.

In the body, the sciatic nerve is the longest and if it gets compressed it can lead to back pain which can reach the legs, buttocks, and into the feet. Additionally, the patient can experience numbness, muscle weakness, tingling sensation, and burning pain.

Osteoporosis makes the bone weak and brittle. The bones are extremely brittle that even a slight bend or fall can cause a fracture. The most common fracture occurs in the wrist, spine, or hip. Bone is the leaving tissue that gets broken and replaced constantly.

The pain is felt in the middle of the back or lower back. Pain can rarely reach the legs or abdomen.

 

Scoliosis is the condition in which the spine twists to one side and it is in the shape of letter S or C. The problem can occur in childhood or adolescence. However, its exact cause is not known. But, the problem can be related to a birth defect or injury. In some cases, scoliosis may occur for multiple family members, indicating a possible genetic component.
Due to the spine twist or curve, the person can have neck discomfort and if the problem is very severe then it can make it difficult to breathe.

Spondylolysis is a stress fracture in one of the vertebrae spine. The problem is most common in adolescents and children who are physically more active like gymnasts and footballers.The problem occurs due to the trauma of the spine or changes which occur to age.
If the fracture weakens the vertebrae then it can become unstable and slip, then it is known as spondylolisthesis. Its symptoms are stiffness and pain. Additionally, if the slipped vertebra pinches the nerve present along with it then the pain can increase.

Osteoporosis makes the bone weak and brittle. The bones are extremely brittle that even a slight bend or fall can cause a fracture. The most common fracture occurs in the wrist, spine, or hip. Bone is the leaving tissue that gets broken and replaced constantly.

The pain is felt in the middle of the back or lower back. Pain can rarely reach the legs or abdomen.

 

Some of the less common causes are mentioned below:

AS is a chronic problem that results in stiffness and low back pain. The problem starts at the age of 40. Exercise can help to improve the pain and it can get worse at night.

Spine Infection is known as osteomyelitis or discitis which results in constant & severe pain. It might be possible you have undergone the surgery in the past and it might have left the infection.

It might be possible cancer develops in the spine or some other part of the body. The back pain is worse at night and it might go to the neck & shoulders. The person can experience unusual fatigue and weight loss.

Cauda Equina is a rare condition in which the nerves present at the spinal cord bottom get irritated or damaged. The person can have tingling or numbness which goes down to one or both legs, the problem of bladder and bowel control, and sexual dysfunction.

When should I seek medical help?

Some of the warning signs that you need to get medical help right away:

  • Back pain stays for more than a few days
  • Back pain aggravates at night
  • Problem controlling bladder or bowels
  • Fever, sweats, chills, and other infections.
  • Unusual symptom

Before examining the back, the doctor will ask you different questions like how it started, what makes the problem worse, is there anything that will make it better, or is there any other symptoms that you experience. Asking these questions can help the doctor to prepare the best treatment course.

After that, the doctor will have a close look at the spine by pressing the spine along with muscles present near it. Neurological examination is done which includes testing the strength, legs sensation, and reflexes. This helps to determine the pain source.

Depending on the diagnosis, the doctor can ask for a blood test. The doctor can ask for complete blood count and inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate.

For serious low back pain imaging tests are not required unless there are symptoms that point to the risk of fracture, infection, cancer, or cauda equina syndrome. If the imaging test is warranted then MRI and CT scan is the effective choice.

When the doctor is evaluating the back pain he will examine your health condition which aggravates the back pain issue. Gastrointestinal conditions can lead to back pain which includes gallbladder disease, peptic ulcer disease, and pancreatitis.
– Additionally, back pain can occur due to shingles, abdominal aortic aneurysm, kidney infection, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and prostatitis.

The back pain symptoms take time to resolve properly. In most cases, people can recover once the person avoids stress. If you are suffering from back pain it does not mean you need to rest for a long time. The recovery time can improve with mild and slow physical activity.

In many cases, the patients find the treatment of self-care like rest, ice, and heat to get relief from the pain and boost-up the recovery phase.

If self-care does not work then you need to seek medical care. According to the extent of your condition and symptoms, the doctor will give you a treatment plan. As per the symptoms, the doctor will give you one or more medications. The most common medications are:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs)
  • Muscle relaxants

To reduce the symptoms of spondylolisthesis and sciatica the patient is given an epidural spinal injection that is injected around the spine. Patients with spine osteoarthritis are recommended steroid injection for pain relief.

  • Physical therapy helps improve the movement, functioning, and strengthening the back muscles. This way it also helps to ease the pain.
  • Additionally, a low-impact exercise routine can help to reduce the symptoms. You should do biking, swimming, or walking. All these things will help to improve the flexibility and range of motion in conditions like spinal osteoarthritis, sciatica, spondylolisthesis.

Some of the best back-soothing and pain relief complementary medicines are:

  • Massage therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi
  • Yoga

There are few supplements like Vitamin D or Magnesium to ease the back pain. But, make sure you consult the doctor as they will recommend you the best according to your condition.

Spine surgery is for patients who are not able to get relief from the above-mentioned treatment options. However, there are some conditions in which the surgery is needed. Your doctor will diagnose your condition and let you know whether you need to get the surgery.

When you must take charge and get the desired information about the back pain. Make sure that you get your condition checked by the doctor to get the best treatment course and optimize the recovery phase. So, make sure to focus on your health, feel your best and enjoy your life to the fullest.

Back pain is the most common and uncomfortable condition. Well, there are different strategies that you can choose to get to prevent the progression of back pain. Some of the best prevention methods are:

  • Keep the body weight stable.
  • Get into an exercise regime that strengthens the core muscles. Make sure that you do low impact and gentle exercise so that your body does not get into an extreme level of stress. You should do walking, yoga, swimming, or pilates.
  • Keep the body posture right and follow good body mechanics. Example: lift something by bending the knees instead of the waist.
  • Avoid certain activities like smoking and drinking.
  • Sleep on the bed which helps your spine to get support.

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