What is back pain?
Back pain is usually the pain along or near the spine. Most adults have experienced back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain is usually not serious and you can recover from 1-8 weeks.
How common is back pain?
Back pain is a very common disease and often affects both men and women. This disease can appear at any age. You can limit your risk of having back pain by reducing the risk factors. Always consult your doctor for more information.
What are the symptoms of back pain?
The common symptoms of back pain include:
- Feeling pain and stiffness in the lower back.
- Back pain tends to be achy and dull.
- The pain usually gets better at night or at rest.
Back pain can occur due to nerve compression, you may recognize this condition through the following symptoms:
- Back pain spread to the waist and hips.
- Numbing and tingling legs.
- Having trouble when moving.
- The pain gets worse when you walk or exercise.
There may be some signs to symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about symptoms, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
When should I see my doctor?
Contact your doctor if you suffer from back pain after an injury or your back pain does not goes away completely after 2 weeks of self-treatment. Contact your doctor also if you have the following symptoms:
- The pain often goes with fever and chills.
- Severe pain at night or the pain spread to the abdomen.
- The pain get worse, especially for people over 50 years old or younger than 20 years old who has had cancer.
- Long lasting pain, numbing and weak legs.
- Urinary retention or involuntary urinate.
What causes back pain?
There are many causes of back pain; they include:
- Muscle stretching
- Nerves compression
Elder people may also suffer from back pain caused by spinal arthritis. Older women often have osteoporosis and may lead to cracked bone in her back causing back pain.
Sometimes, the pain or disease in other parts of the body such as shoulders or hips can also lead to back pain.
Back pain may get worse if you:
- Being overweight or have too much fat in your diet.
- Carry heavy objects without safety.
- Ignore abnormal symptoms or progression of the disease.
- Do not follow your doctor’s instructions.
What increases my risk for back pain?
There are many risk factors for back pain, such as:
- Someone in your family has medical history of back pain.
- You have a back injury before.
- Pregnancy: the back of pregnant woman suffers great pressure, which may lead to back pain.
- You have a back surgery before.
- There are congenital abnormalities in the spine.
- Do not exercise regularly.
- Doing job that requires sitting for long periods, carrying heavy objects, excessive bending.
- Being overweight: especially the waist, this will increase the weight on your back. Also, people who are overweight often have poor physical, physical inactivity can lead to more back pain.
- Stress and depression: many people cannot relax back muscles when they are stressed out.
- Some drugs can weaken bones for long days (eg, corticosteroids).
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is back pain diagnosed?
To diagnose, your doctor will ask you about medical history, symptoms, your job and your physical activity. If he/she suspects that the pain is caused by deformation of the spine or the symptoms of other conditions, your doctor may take an x-ray, CT or MRI. In some special cases, some other tests may be useful, such as a bone scan or Electromyography and neurotransmitters.
How is back pain treated?
Most cases of back pain just need pain relief drugs (acetaminophen or ibuprofen for example). In addition, your doctor may ask you to practice physiotherapy to recover more quickly. Surgery and other treatments may be necessary, but rarely used.
Whichever method of treatment you choose, most patients recover after 8 weeks. However, people with chronic back pain may need to go to the clinic regularly to monitor the situation of the disease in the future.
Lifestyle changes & Home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage back pain?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with back pain:
- Follow your schedule appointment for monitoring your symptoms as well as your health condition.
- Listen to your doctor’s instructions; do not take medicines without asking your doctor.
- Take pain relief medicines if necessary.
- Take a break if the pain is too bad.
- Do exercise to help your back bone healthier.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects; lift in the right way if necessary: kneel on one knee or squat, and then slowly lift the object up.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Ferri, Fred. Ferri’s Netter Patient Advisor. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders / Elsevier, 2012. Download.
Lower Back Pain Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment; Spine-health. http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/lower-back-pain/lower-back-pain-symptoms-diagnosis-and-treatment. Accessed Jul 13 2016
Review Date: August 16, 2016 | Last Modified: February 3, 2017