Back pain is one of the most common medical conditions. This type of pain occurs in the back area especially in muscles, bones, nerves or joint areas. Most of the person suffers from back pain at least once in their life time. There are different types of back pain like acute or chronic, diffuse or confined to a particular area, dull or sharp and piercing in nature. Sometimes back pain is associated with numbness or tingling sensations in the limbs or fingers or toes. Worldwide it is one of the most common debilitating health conditions.
There are number of treatment options starting from drugs, adequate exercise even surgery is required in cases which do not respond to the above mentioned treatment options.
Depending upon the involvement of structures different symptoms appear; these are pain in the muscles, shooting or stabbing pain which may radiate down the legs, inability to maintain normal posture or normal gait, restricted mobility etc. Usually pain is relieved within 48 to 72 hours with rest however sometimes the condition deteriorates and other serious side effects like inability to control bowel or bladder movement and throbbing pain in the abdomen along with fever may appear.
In most of the cases of back pain the exact underlying cause cannot be identified however common health conditions associated with back pain include.
- Strain of muscle or ligaments: repeated episodes of heavy weight lifting or sudden abnormal movement may lead to straining of the muscles or ligaments in the back leading to back pain. However sometimes people with poor physical fitness may suffer from back pain due to constant maintaining of abnormal awkward posture.
- Spinal disc herniation or disc prolapsed: the vertebral column is made up of vertebral bones. There are disks in between every two vertebral bones which acts as shock absorber and also facilitate movement of the vertebral column without any friction. Sometimes there is bulging or rupture of the disks (disk prolapsed) which may lead to severe lower back pain
- Osteoarthritis: it is a medical condition affecting the different joints of the body and characterized by restricted and painful mobility of the affected joint. This condition may also affect the vertebral joints resulting into narrowing of the joint space and increased pressure on the nerves emerging from the spinal cord leading to severe back pain
- Abnormal curvature of the spinal cord as in people suffering from scoliosis may sometimes lead to back pain
- Osteoporosis: it is a disease in which the bones become brittle and more prone to fracture following minimal trauma. In people suffering from osteoporosis the bones of the vertebral column usually undergo compression fracture leading to pressure of the nerve fibers and back pain
Back pain can affect people of any age group starting from children to adults however chronic back pain can be due to heavy weight lifting, lack of exercise, maintaining abnormal posture for prolonged period, suffering certain medical conditions like osteoarthritis etc. Studies have shown that people suffering from depression and anxiety are more likely to suffer from back pain.
Most of the people suffering from back pain are benefited from short period of rest and over the counter available pain killers. Physical therapy and regular exercise play an important role to control back pain. Rarely surgery is required to treat the underlying cause of back pain.