Back pain is a general term used to describe pain below the cervical spine (neck). It does not usually indicate any specific underlying disease. Lots of people suffer from it and the following information will help you to better understand the causes, risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis, prevention methods and natural remedies for back pain and inflammation.
Being educated about back pain is the best way to prevent it from occurring in the first place and to also treat it effectively.
The back is a network of muscles and vertebrae (individual bones of the spine), that supports the body in every single move it makes. As a result, it is easy to injure the back. However, treating back pain can be done by avoiding certain activities and changing things like posture. These will help to reduce back pain and inflammation naturally, and very rarely will surgery be necessary to relieve the chronic pain, if you adopt a better way of looking after your back.
Causes and Risk Factors of Back Pain
The majority of your body’s weight is supported by your lower back. The lower back also receives the blunt of the stress you place on your body. So, it stands to reason that back pain will occur at some point from poor posture, strained muscles and ligaments, or even a quick movement that stresses the back. Sometimes there is no one particular cause for back pain but rather an accumulation of events that contribute towards it.
There are some actual conditions that are responsible for back pain and inflammation and they have specific treatments.
A condition caused by a herniated (a bulge or protrusion) disk pressing on the sciatic nerve that causes sharp pain in the back of the leg and buttocks.
- Herniated Disk:
A disk (one of the rubbery cushions situated between the individual bones (vertebrae) that stack up to make your spine) presses on a nerve.
- Spinal Stenosis:
When arthritis or bone overgrowth narrows the amount of space surrounding the spinal cord and nerve roots and pinches a nerve.
Degenerative changes of the spine from arthritis.
- Spine Cancer:
A spinal tumour that presses on a nerve could be cancer that causes pain from the pressure.
A spinal condition that causes one vertebra to move onto another.
- Injury of the Spine:
When the spine is injured due to a fall, wreck, sports injury, etc.
Symptoms of Back Pain
The symptoms of the above back-related conditions are generally back pain as well as inflamed muscles. Depending on what causes the pain in the back, there may be additional symptoms present including pain in the legs.
Diagnosis of Back Pain
Most doctors don’t use diagnostic tests for individuals with back pain. However, the doctor will ask you to walk and move about to determine the extent of your pain and where it stems from. This evaluation will also determine if you have a simple case of back pain or if there is something more serious causing the pain. In the event a serious cause - like a tumour or infection - is suspected, other tests will be used to determine the nature of the problem.
An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan may be performed. This will show any problems with bones, nerves, blood vessels, muscles, tendons, ligaments, tissues, tumours, or any other possible problem.
X-rays are used to determine if there are any bone fractures or if there is a degenerative joint disease. The x-rays cannot show if there is a problem within a muscle however.
If a compressed nerve is suspected then a nerve study might be conducted. Occasionally a physician will do a bone scan to look for compression fractures or tumours; however this is not a frequent diagnostic tool for back pain.
Try These Natural Remedies for Back Pain and Inflammation
Generally back pain may be treated at home with instant back pain relief being found within 72 hours. Pain relievers in addition to hot and cold packs usually help ease the pain and inflammation. Lying in bed for a day or two may be beneficial, but longer will only make back pain worse. There are a wide array of therapies and natural remedies available.
How to Relieve Back Pain Naturally With Physical Therapy
Electrical stimulation, ultrasound, heat, ice, massage, and muscle relaxation techniques are just some of the natural treatments provided through physical therapy. There are a variety of exercises that are also beneficial to increase flexibility and strength. These techniques and therapies can be found by using a chiropractor or massage therapist.
Electrical Stimulation for Lower Back Pain
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a popular treatment for lower back pain. A small amount of electrical current is sent through a machine to places on the back. The point is to prevent pain signals from reaching the brain and provide relief to acute lower back pain.
Prevention of Back PainMost people can prevent lower back pain simply by learning how to move their body and support their back. There are some cases of back pain that cannot be prevented, but for those that can it is certainly worth the effort.
The most important thing in knowing is how to use your back, so as not to injure it. For instance, you should know how to sit, stand, lift, and sleep properly. Basically, you should always keep hips and knees level when sitting and choose a chair with arm rests and a firm back. If you stand for long periods of time then alternately place one foot on a footstool. This will ease lower back pressure and reduce the risk of pain.
Avoiding back pain means lifting properly as well. Always lift with your legs and keep your back straight. Never twist while standing and lifting and use a partner to help with really heavy loads. Finally, when sleeping use a pillow that helps keep your spine aligned and a medium firm mattress.
Other ways to help prevent back pain include, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, and building strength and muscle to help support the back. Doing these things will complement your new sitting, standing, lifting, and sleeping methods, and you will be able to prevent the majority of back pain.
Natural Herbs and Supplements for Pain and Inflammation
Aside from physical treatments there are natural anti-inflammatory supplements and herbs that can assist with inflammation and pain in the back.
Depending on the cause will depend on what natural remedies to use. Arnica gel or ointment helps to ease muscle pain and soreness with its anti-inflammatory properties. Using the herbs Ginger, Turmeric, and Boswelia can also help as well as using a natural herbal pain relief spray to reduce the pain.
Best Stretches for Lower Back Pain - Dr. Berg