Most back pain, especially lower back pain,
is caused by simple muscle strains.
Most back pain is caused by simple strains and the main focus
of this site is how to prevent recurring back pain by strengthening
the muscles that support the back, correcting posture, using proper
lifting techniques, and understanding the physical limitations
of the back. There is also information on a variety of treatments
for the relief of both acute and chronic pain.
Back Pain, especially in the lower back (lumbar
spine), is a problem that most people experience
at some time in their lives. The muscles that support the spine
are in constant use; even while simply sitting, the muscles are
in use to keep one from falling over. The spine also bends, straightens
and twists. This constant stress on the back can result in back
strain and pain.
The lower back supports most of the weight of the body and is subject
to the most mechanical stress. As a result, the lower back is commonly
injured. Lower back pain caused by strained muscles or ligaments
is the most common type of back pain (often referred to as lumbago).
Though most back pain is caused by muscle or ligament strain,
there are other causes such as damage or injury to spinal nerves,
bones, or discs. Osteoarthritis of the spine is a common cause of
back pain in people over 65 years of age. Back pain is sometimes
caused by a problem with the kidneys.
If back pain persists for over 3 months, it is considered chronic
back pain. That doesn't mean wait 3 months to see a doctor
- an aching back can be a symptom of something that requires immediate
attention such as a kidney infection. Back
pain that lasts several days should should be diagnosed and treated
by a physician. It the back pain is severe or is accompanied by
numbness or pain down the leg, a doctor should be seen immediately.
The severity of back pain does not always correlate with
the severity of the injury or damage.
In many cases the
cause of back pain is hard to pin down. A simple muscle
strain often causes more pain that a herniated disc. Herniated
discs can produce intense back pain but often do not produce
any symptoms at all. Even in those with damaged discs and spinal
joints, the source of the back pain may be strained back muscles.
If a doctor recommends surgery to relieve back pain, a second opinion
should be sought. If one has a herniated disc, for example, but
the herniated disc is not actually the source of the back pain,
surgery will not help relieve it. (Most herniated discs improve
Stress, anxiety, and depression
are often linked to back pain. Stress causes muscles to contract
- reducing blood flow to the tissues. Stress hormones also heighten
the perception of pain.
Back pain can occur suddenly, but more
often develops gradually.
For example, when the
muscles supporting the back are held in one position (contracted)
too long, the back muscles get fatigued and strained. Byproducts
of muscular activity (such as lactic acid) build up in the back
muscles. High levels of these acidic waste products in the muscles
cause muscle irritation and pain.
Recurring back pain is frequently
the result of inadequate muscle strength, shortened muscles; poor
posture, being overweight, poor bending and lifting techniques.
These are all factors that can be controlled .
Back Pain Management Site Summary
Pain Home Page
Back Pain Overview.
- Muscle and Ligament
Simple muscle strain is the most common cause of back pain. Injuries
can occur suddenly or may be caused by overuse.
Exercises to strengthen muscles that support the back, safe lifting
techniques, proper posture, and controlling weight help prevent
back injury and pain.
- Other Back
Aging, lack of sleep, depression and anxiety, stress, inappropriate
footwear, and smoking increase the risk of back pain.
Using proper body mechanics while lifting and respecting the limitations
of the back prevent injury.
Posture errors place
extra stress upon the muscles, ligaments, and joints
of the spine.
- Post-injury exercise
Is exercising safe after a back injury before the pain has gone?
- Back Exercises
Exercises for the back to increase strength, mobility
- Back Pain
Hot and cold therapy, topical rubs, pain medications, and complementary
for relief of back pain.
- Meds for
Anti-inflammatory medications, pain relief medications, etc.
Treatments for Back Pain:
- Complementary Treatments
Directory of complementary treatments for back pain relief.
Ancient Chinese practice, widely used in United States and
Canada for pain relief.
Spinal manipulation relieves certain types of back pain.
The muscles of the back are stretched, increasing the space
between the vertebrae to reduce pressure on intervertebral
discs and nerve roots for back pain relief.
Inversion tables are used to hang upside down, or inverted
on a slant, to stretch the spine.
Common treatment for back pain relief. Manipulation of muscles
and other soft tissues relieves muscle tension, increases
Calcium is essential to maintain bone mass and spine health.
Supplements for osteoarthritis
Warm water therapy, a form of hydrotherapy, reduces pain, stiffness,and
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. Stimulation of
nerves through low voltage electric impulses - used for
- Stress and Back Pain
Relieving stress can reduce back pain.
Shoes with inadequate support or cushioning can
cause or aggravate back pain.
- Other Back
Various conditions that may cause back pain - Ankylosing Spondylitis,
herniated disc, sciatica, spinal stenosis, scoliosis.
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
Chronic Inflammatory disease of the spine.
- Herniated Disc
A rupture of the outer casing of a disc. If it occurs in the
lower back, may cause sciatica (pain down the leg) and lower
Abnormal side-to-side curvature of the spine.
Pain and/or numbness caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve.
- Spinal Stenosis
Narrowing of the spaces in the vertebrae causing pressure of
the nerve roots or spinal cord itself.
Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain and fatigue.
of the Spine
Degenerative disease of the cartilage of the spinal joints -
can affect different areas of the spine - causing pain and stiffness.
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