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WHAT IS BACKACHE?

Backache is pain that could be anywhere at the back with or without radiation to buttocks and legs. The cause for backache ranges from simple strain and sprain to debilitating illness that impacts intervertebral discs. Pain could be acute or chronic that might even need some form of surgical intervention. Factors that lead to backache includes age, occupation, lifestyle, injuries, degenerative diseases etc.

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF BACKACHE?

Problems in the components that comprise entire back like muscles, ligaments, tendons, discs, bones result in backache. The main causes include strain or spasms that occur due to lifting heavy weights, making an awkward movement, injuries and falls. Besides, there are structural problems like sciatica, scolosis (abnormal curvature of the spine), kyphosis, arthritis, osteoporosis, disc bulge, ruptured discs etc. Most common cause of frequent backache in recent times is due to sedentary lifestyle and poor posture. Simple twisting, over stretching, sitting or sleeping in a wrong posture for prolonged periods, lack of physical exercise, excessive driving etc. often presents itself with backache. Other medical conditions that cause backaches are chronic cough, kidney disease, tuberculosis of the spine, infections like pelvic inflammatory disease, tumors and cauda equina syndrome.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF BACKACHE?

As one gets older, there is high chance of developing degenerative illnesses like arthritis that lead to backpain. Excessive weight/obesity, pregnancy, smoking, occupation that involves lifting heavy weights, long standing, genetic factors, people with anxiety are at high risk for developing backache. Immediate medical attention should be given when patient presents with inflammation or swelling, fever, urinary and fecal incontinence, numbness, tingling, weight loss along with back pain.

WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR BACKACHE?

There are certain measures that help in preventing back pain.

  • Exercise: Daily physical activity will help to build strength in back muscles. Back strengthening exercises, core strengthening exercises, swimming can prevent spasms of the back. Exercising everyday for at least one hour improves flexibility of the back muscles.
  • Maintaining weight by healthy diet and daily diet includes required amount of calcium and vitamin D. Quitting smoking and adopting a healthy lifestyle are also important.
  • Posture: Make sure to sit in right posture that keeps the vertebrae straight. Stooping posture affects the back muscles. Posture should be straight, upright without bending forward or backward, balancing weight equally on both sides of the buttocks while sitting and on legs while standing. Back should supported with a rest while sitting and the elbows should be at right angles with forearms in horizontal position while working in front of a computer.
  • Sleeping on a surface that gives support to the back is essential. Never choose a very soft or very hard mattress to sleep on. This is because such posture changes the curvature of the vertebrae.
  • Avoid driving at a stretch for prolonged periods.
  • Avoid lifting heavy weights. If so, keep head in an upright position without bending or looking down so that spine stays straight.

Medications like NSAIDS and muscle relaxants are available over the counter and are helpful in the case of acute back pain. Applying hot patches, physiotherapy, yoga, traction in some conditions are few therapies that can improve back pain. Treating the cause or underlying condition that resulted in back pain in either medical or surgical method is the main stay for relief.

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